Cynthia Egbert's Reviews > Boy's Life

Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
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Aug 01, 11

Read in August, 2011

I am weeping as I write this review and I should probably wait to compose this, but I want to do it now, while everything is so fresh. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I am indebted to another great author, Andy "Williamson, for recommending it. I will admit to feeling disgruntled at first, due to the fact that this Mr. McCammon is obviously a fan of Ray Bradbury's and there is a style similarity here. But I quickly overcame that and fell head over heals in love with this novel. It will be one of my new summer classics. Mr. McCammon brings what it means to be a child and STAY a child to life in this work. And I so desperately want to stay a child, I appreciate all the help that I can get. I am going to throw in some quotes below, but I am not going to say anything further about the book, except to say...READ IT!!

Some of the quotes that I loved:

"This is where I think the writing started. The "righting" if you will. The righting of circumstances, the shaping of the world the way it should have been, had God not had crossed eyes and buck teeth. IN the real world I had no power; in my world I was Hercules unchained."


"Maybe he was crazy. Maybe crazy is what they call anybody who's got magic in them after they're no longer a child."

"He was a stoic before I knew the meaning of the word."

"There are things much worse than monster movies. There are horrors that burst the bounds of screen and page, and come home all twisted up and grinning behind the face of somebody you love. At that moment I knew Ben would have gladly looked into that glass bowl at the tentacled Martian head rather than into his father's drunk-red eyes."

“Granddaddy Jaybird always did something to, as Dad said when he thought I wasn’t listening, ‘show his butt,’ and today would be no exception.”

“I understood then what courage is all about. It is loving someone else more than you love yourself.”

“I knew that if I rode away from that place and point in time, I would forever be disgraced. Not that I didn’t want to, and not that every fiber of good sense wasn’t telling me to haul ass. But some good sense you listen to, and some good sense you can’t live with.”

“I realized that all prisons were not buildings of gray rock bordered by guard towers and barbed wire. Some prisons were houses whose closed blinds let no sunlight enter. Some prisons were cages of fragile bones, and some prisons had bars of red polka dots. In fact, you could never tell what might be a prison until you’d had a glimpse of what was seized and bound inside.”

“The applause felt good; but it wasn’t nearly as good as that feeling of leading people on a journey and them trusting you to know the way.”

“He said he would give a million dollars if he could have them (comic books and other books of childhood) again and he said that if I had any of them I should hold on to them forever because they were magic. And once you burn the magic things or cast them out in the garbage, Vernon said, you become a beggar for magic again.”

“God has a sense of humor that gets my goat sometimes.”

“I had always wondered what Reverend Lovoy meant when he talked about ‘grace’. I understood it now. It was being able to give up something that it broke your heart to lose, and be happy about it.”

“If a gun, a fast car, and being drunker than a Shriner made a man smart, then Donny was Copernicus, Da Vinci, and Einstein rolled up into one mass of doughy genius.”

“I don’t think anyone gives you peace, Dad. I think you have to fight for it, whether you want to or not. Like what happened with Johnny and Gotha Branlin. Johnny wasn’t lookin’ for a fight. It was forced on him. But he won peace for all of us, Dad.”

“Lord God, you got the brains of a BB in a boxcar!”

“Suddenly I had run out of words. This was not going to be like feeding the magic box; this was real life, and it was going to be very, very hard.”

“I saw all too clearly that my father – not a mythic hero, not a superman, but just a good man – was a solitary traveler in a wilderness of anguish.”

“It seemed to me, as I walked in the presence of all those stilled voices that would never be heard again, that we were a wasteful breed. We had thrown away the past, and our future was impoverished for it.”

“Don’t be in a hurry to grow up. Hold on to being a boy as long as you can, because once you lose that magic, you’re always begging to find it again.”

“Everybody needs to know where they’ve been, it seems to me. Not just the blackskins, but whiteskins, too. Seems to me if a person loses the past, he can’t find the future either.”

“But I think parents aren’t teachers anymore. Parents – or a whole lot of us, at least – lead by mouth instead of by example. It seems to me that if a child’s hero is their mother or father – or even better, both of them in tandem – then the rough road of learning and experience is going to be smoothed some. And every little bit of smoothing helps, in this rough world that wants children to be miniature adults, devoid of charm and magic and the beauty of innocence.

“I really have tried to hold off the attitude aging. In this regard, music came to my rescue. I believe music is the language of youth, and the more you can accept as being valid, the younger your attitude gets.”

“I don’t think anyone is evil beyond saving. Maybe I’m like Dad that way: naïve. But better naïve, I think, than calloused to the core.”

“And magic has a strong, strong heart.”
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message 1: by Tamara (new)

Tamara This sounds like Clarisse McClellan..."I'm 17, and I'm crazy." I'll put this on my list.


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