Book Review: This Boy’s Life: A Memoir by Tobias Wolff

Boy's Life - Wolff

This Boy’s Life: A Memoir

By Tobias Wolff

My Rating: 4 Stars

Wow, what an extraordinary memoir. Beautifully written and heartbreakingly moving this book will remind you of the pressures, struggles and ultimately the triumphs of adolescence. I loved this book. As I read of young Tobias Wolff’s life, I couldn’t help but imagine my Dad and his troubling life as a teen. This book is sure to take each reader back to a different time in the world. Whether you can connect with it on a personal level or simply appreciate the story being presented, I’m sure that everyone will take something from it. If you are an avid memoir, biography and autobiography reader, you definitely need to read this. It may just be the best memoir I’ve ever read.


Separated from his father and brother because of divorce, young Tobias Wolff and his mother live a meager existence. Life is always a struggle and moving is a constant in their daily life. When his mother remarries, Tobias must fight to find his place in the new family, which he becomes a part. Faced with the constant hostility from his stepfather, Toby struggles to find his center, his self-respect and his freedom.

My Thoughts

Wow, what an amazing read. I loved this memoir. Set in 1950’s Washington State, it’s a moving tale about a young boy lost in the world and struggling to find his place. While I am not a teen boy and never was, I connected with this book simply because my Dad was young boy in the 1950’s. His life was hard and he and his brothers were often left to their own devices to survive. His mother died when he was only a teen and that had a profound effect on his family. While reading about Tobias Wolff’s life, I learned more about my dad and my family history simply by learning more about the constant struggles of those in a similar situation during the same time period. This is one of the most moving stories I have ever read and I absolutely couldn’t put it down. I’ve never read a memoir that I’d like to read again but this is certainly one of them. It’s heartbreaking, awkward, horrific, terrifying and awkwardly funny all at the same time. I couldn’t get enough of this book. A definite must read for nonfiction readers.


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