Friday, July 20, 2012

Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

Boy's Life
Written by Robert McCammon
“Maybe crazy is what they call anybody who's got magic in them after they're no longer a child.”-- Boy's Life, by Robert McCammon

Wow, I was enchanted by this book. It took me back to my childhood like no other book has. It was amazing to rediscover that belief that your parents are invincible and the fear when you find out that no one is. The joy of believing in the unbelievable, the magical, and the supernatural--all came flooding back.

When I opened Boy's Life, I'm not sure what I expected, but before I finished the first page I was transported to another time and place. And isn't that why we started reading to begin with? This book was just a pleasure to read, because McCammon has a magical way with words that is simply enjoyable. Reading it was like eating a big piece of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake that was so good you can't even feel a tiny bit guilty about eating it.

I was particularly drawn into the small town of Zephyr, Alabama, its customs, its people. Zephyr is the epitome of the small town, with all its good and it's bad characteristics and characters. McCammon drew a perfect picture of the social and political unrest that would have been prevalent during that delicate time after the civil rights movement.

The Lady, a proud voodoo queen, was one of my favorite characters, although I loved each and every one of the characters if I'm being honest. What particularly attracted me to The Lady was how McCammon allowed her to make such poignant statements about the true nature of racism, not only by her words, but more often by her deeds and her very nature. He somehow managed to make her seem both regal and still entirely humble in nature. She reminded me of another character in one of my favorite series, Alma from The Castor Chronicles series by Kami Garcia. The Lady is what I imagine Alma to be like when she's 100 years old.

Really, many of my favorite parts of Boy's Life reminded me of Garcia's Castor Chronicles (Most Recent Castor Chronicle Book Review). The southern setting, which both Garcia and McCammon have so expertly captured, is no easy feat. The vibrant characters, so real, they seem to walk right off the page and into your Living Room. That perfect blending of superstition, religion, and magic that makes it difficult to tell where the line between real and imaginary is drawn. The classic coming-of-age tale so vivid that it reminds you of your own wild adventures of growing up that until now were completely forgotten.

Boy's Life is one of those rare books that transcends generations and genres. Whether you need to know you aren't alone as you struggle to grow up yourself, you just want the chance to rekindle fond memories of your youth, or you're looking for a book to loose yourself in, Boy's Life is just what the doctor ordered.

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