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Boy's Life Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1992

4.7 out of 5 stars 890 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Both a mystery that will satisfy the most finicky aficionado and a boisterous travelogue through a stormy season in a 12-year-old's life, this novel follows a boy and his father as they seek a killer in 1964 Alabama.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In 1964, 12-year-old Cory Mackenson lives with his parents in Zephyr, Alabama. It is a sleepy, comfortable town. Cory is helping with his father's milk route one morning when a car plunges into the lake before their eyes. His father dives in after the car and finds a dead man handcuffed to the steering wheel. Their world no longer seems so innocent: a vicious killer hides among apparently friendly neighbors. Other, equally unsettling transmogrifications occur: a friend's father becomes a shambling bully under the influence of moonshine, decent men metamorphose into Klan bigots, "responsible" adults flee when faced with danger for the first time. With the aid of unexpected allies, Cory faces hair-raising dangers as he seeks to find the secret of the dead man in the lake. McCammon writes an exciting adventure story. He also gives us an affecting tale of a young man growing out of childhood in a troubled place and time. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/91; Literary Guild dual main selection.
- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of Technology, Utica
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint edition (May 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671743058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671743055
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (890 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 2, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sometimes I get to thinking that my mental list of the "Top 5 Books I've Ever Read" is going to remain cast in stone until the day I draw my terminal breath. Then, out of the blue, an accidental discovery like "A Boy's Life" will come along and prove that, while I may consider myself well-read, there's still way too much opportunity for bona fide treasures to remain hidden.
I try not to use too may superlatives when writing a review - they tend to distract the reader and perhaps even cause them to question your objectivity. But this time I just can't bring myself to care, such is my admiration of the book I read just a few short weeks ago. Put simply, this work is a masterpiece, and it's only when you encounter something as rich as this that you realise how often that word is applied to inferior goods.
One line plot summary - "'A Boy's Life' details the adventures of a twelve year old boy growing up in a small town, being essentially a series of vignettes backed by a tale of an unsolved murder." None of which, of course, would tempt you to read the thing were I not to say this:
McCammon has always been a competent writer, but neither before nor since has he approached the heights he attains here. God knows other writers have come close to capturing the simple magic of boyhood (King's "The Body" makes a fine case study), but McCammon leaves them all in his wake. There really is magic in this book, I swear it - the pleasures and pitfalls of early friendships, the thrill of summer break, the bicycle as a near-mythical icon, the joys of childish things and the call of the future - it's like putting on a pair of magic lenses and seeing things as we saw them before the cares of the world came to spirit us away.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have taught Boy's Life to eighth graders for seven years now. It is their summer reading book, partly because of its length, partly because of its advenure, and partly because its themes tie together the other books we read the rest of the year. For the 200 students or so who have read it, Boy's Life has been the best book they ever read. It becomes important to students because they can relate to the characters and what they encounter. As one student said, "The book teaches us lessons about life." By covering such themes as racism, alcoholism, bullies, friendship, death, writing, courage, and doing the right thing, each class has been able to talk openly about these issues and how they relate to them. I was visited by two former students a short time ago. As they chatted with me, one of them spotted my copy of Boy's Life on my bookshelf. She went over to it, took it down, and said, "Do you know how many times I've read this now? About four or five." Without missing a beat the other girl said, "Mine is kept together with duct tape." It is rare to find a book that kids cherish and return to again and again. Many times it has been the book that has influenced non-readers to want to read. It is a teacher's dream.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm not sure I can write a review worthy of "Boy's Life"...it's THAT good. If I could, I'd make it required reading for EVERYONE--especially those of us who remember 45 rpm records, riding bikes with friends and the magic of being adolescent in the early 1960s.

"Boy's Life" captures PERFECTLY the mysteries, imagination, adventures and humor of a boy and his friends growing up in a small town when the Beach Boys were number one and there were three channels on tv.

Do you remember naming your bike? Imagining secrets about the grown-ups in your life? Collecting monster magazines? The weird kid who sat behind you and the bully who tormented you? Life when there was a downtown instead of malls?

"Boy's Life" brings these and SO many more memories back to life with amazing detail and accuracy.

Robert McCammon has written THE BEST "coming of age" tail I've EVER read. As good as "To Kill A Mockingbird" but lighter, and capturing the life of the post WWII generation.

I KNEW these people...so did you. I promise you, you'll find yourself (especially you "boys") right back in the early 60s. And you'll laugh, be scared, cry, be angry and smile sweetly to yourself ... Best of all... you'll REMEMBER.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Once in a while you find a rare book which stays in your mind long after your finished it. Boy's Life is just that. The story is simply beautiful and still captures my heart and imagination after reading it the second time, 10 years later. McCammon is famous for his horrors. But in Boy's Life, Mc Cammon has written a brilliant story filled with sensitivity, humanity and emotional depth. It is about a 11 year old boy coming of age. Narrated in the endearing young boy's, Cory's, voice, Boy's Life captures what is meant to be a child once, when the world is still magical and filled with wonders, when a bicycle is a boy's steed, friendship is permanent, a dog is one's best friend and even "flying" is possible. And Boy's Life has its moments of poignancy when Cory has to deal with his best friends' death, evil when and where he least expects and bigotry in his young world. Boy's Life just tugs at my heart as it glows with warmth and comfort when parental love overcome the fears of growing up and always there to rely on in a child's life. Boy's Life is truly a treasure and I promise myself to read this gem again in another 5-10 years time.
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