Sometimes a book just seems to be everywhere. And I don’t mean in the sense of the new Stephen King book that’s being reviewed and advertised in every medium possible. I mean in the sense that everyone seems to be reading it, and it’s some quiet thing that’s been out for ages but has only just caught the collective imagination of the online bookish community.
And I still tend to ignore it.
I have a very bad habit, in that if everyone’s reading a book, and everyone’s telling me I should read it, I won’t. Even if the odds are I’ll probably enjoy it. My dad calls me ornery, but pot, kettle, all that.
But two things spoke to me when it came to Robert R. McCammon’s Boy’s Life. Firstly, everyone was mentioning it in the same breath as Dan Simmon’s Summer of Night and Stephen King’s It, which are both books I love for their depiction of friendship just as much as the oh-god-I-can’t-turn-off-the-light terror. Secondly, I think I’ve only ever read one other Robert R. McCammon book, Swan Song, and it was years ago, but I remember it as good. Good in the sense that every other book I read in the apocalyptic genre after that fell a little short, even The Stand. Which is saying something, as I loved The Stand.
So I tried it.
And was it good?
Yes. Yes, it was. Not in the genre-crushing way that I remember Swan Song being (but I was a lot younger at the time, so it’ll be interesting to re-visit that), but it was good. The blending of the magic that is childhood with deeper, more mysterious magic, and the sense of this one year being so fragile and perfect, yet beset with tragedy and change – it was a fantastic read. I think Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine would still be my favourite read in this sort of sub-genre, but it’s a close second.
Now tell me, lovely people – have you read Boy’s Life? Did you enjoy it? What books have you picked up because you started seeing them everywhere? Did you enjoy them? Let me know below!
And just one more little note – all these books dealing with the idyllic childhood of boys. It makes me quite want to talk about girls’ childhoods, too. Because it’s not all Barbies and playhouses. I remember pirates and treasure maps and gullies where the sheep went to die, and enormous eels in the creek and digging up coconut crabs (which are fast. And angry). Have you read any books about girls growing up that talk about the adventure of it? If so, I’d love to hear some titles!