Sunday, 16 April 2017

A Boy's Own Life by Edmund White

"People say young love or love of the moment isn't real, but I think the only love is the first. Later we hear its fleeting recapitulations throughout our lives, brief echoes of the original theme in a work that increasingly becomes all development, the mechanical elaboration of a crab canon with too many parts."

A gorgeous novel that transports the reader into the life of a young boy growing up in the 1950s. His family life is vividly depicted along with his struggles to come to terms with his growing attraction to men and failed attempts to 'cure' his homosexual leanings. There is so much feeling here and torment in trying to find a way forward. 

The writing perfectly conveys the yearning and confusion of young adulthood - the quest for love and acceptance is something we can all relate to. Certainly the sense of feeling apart from your peers is one that immediately takes me back to adolescence. There are moments within the novel of complete heartbreak, of the joy of discovery, and an awakening of the powers of adulthood.

It is clear why this novel is one of the 1001 books to read before you die, and I'm very glad I have.

5 out of 5 love letters are a bad idea.

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