From the Back Cover
February 12, 2010 by workinggirlreviews Becoming: A Chronicle of Metamorphosis
By Mark Lichterman
Metropolis Ink (June 15, 2008)
Amazon Buy Link: amazon.com/Becoming-Mark-Lichterman/dp/0646492160
"Do you remember your radio and "Captain Midnight," "The Lone Ranger," "Junior Miss" and "Let's Pretend"? The first time you inhaled a cigarette? Your first swallow of hard liquor? The thrill of the first exploration of the body of your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife... your own body? Your first orgasm? Remember when as a people we loved America, and showed it? Then you might be ready for a nostalgic, funny, romantic, sexually frustrating novel. A novel that may remind many of us of ourselves, "way back then," when God's most mysterious creation was the opposite sex. A novel about life and the often funny, sometimes sad, day-to-day things that stir the memories of our lives..."
The above is a quote from the blurb for Mark Lichterman's Becoming and I put it there because it so aptly describes the novel. When I decided to review this book, I was worried because number one, I rarely have time to sit down and read a book as long as this one and two, because I stupidly felt I'd never be able to connect with anything in it. I'm female, Christian, grew up in the country, and the time period was before my time. I was wrong, wrong, wrong! The subject matter is timeless, the characters so genuine they jump from the pages and into your heart, and being the mother of boys--I could even relate to the male point of view.
The story begins in 1939 on Chicago's west side and follows five-year-old Mitchie for the next seventeen years of his life. A true coming of age story told in graphic detail. And the humor--did I mention the humor? I found myself laughing out loud many times. I especially loved when the humor came at a time when it was totally unexpected, the way it is in 'real life'. I can't say all I'd like to say about the book because it needs to be experienced first hand and I don't want to spoil that experience for the reader by saying too much.
Mr. Lichterman is a talented storyteller with a beautifully unique writing style and strong voice. His characters are delightfully flawed, giving them an unsurpassed charm and authentic quality. Becoming transcends all gender, ethnic, and geographical backgrounds, so no matter where you're coming from, if you love truly great coming of age stories, give this one a try.
My one complaint is I felt the book ended too soon. Yes, even at 736 pages, I was sad when reading that last page and know these characters will be with me for a long time.
About the Author
"Would you like to have
Santa come down
your filthy chimney?"
This was the heading on a flyer I made
for my company "The Flue Bug Chimney
Sweep" in 1982 that became the thought
that prompted my writing of The Climbing
As tedious as writing, re-writing and
self-editing may be, I found these to be
the simple, the fun, the enjoyable parts of
In 1984, after finishing the rewriting
and self-editing, I began the task of finding
an agent or a publisher for The Climbing
Boy. Writer's Market became my bible.
After hundreds upon hundreds of
queries, each including a stamped and
self-addressed envelope (this was before I
discovered computers), and after receiving
hundreds upon hundreds of rejections, I
discovered the Catch-22 of the publishing
industry: agents will not look at a new
writer unless he/she has been published,
and publishers will not look at a new
writer unless he/she has an agent.
But I had discovered that writing had
become a very enjoyable and important
part of my life, so as I continued to look for
an agent or a publisher for The Climbing
Boy, in 1986 I began Captain Midnight
and the Toothpaste Thief, which I later
Lo and behold, after twenty-two years
of trying, and nearly giving up, Metropolis
Ink agreed to publish The Climbing Boy
and, four years later, Becoming.
Thank you Kurt and David for taking
Zachariah, Mitchell and their worlds
out of the dark box they had lived in for