This Boy's Life Essay

1099 words - 5 pages

In the 1950’s, young Jack Wolff struggles to find himself and his place in society as he and his mother travel across the country; running away from hostile situations, towards the hope of a better life. Tobias Wolff graces readers with his unforgettable memoir of boyhood, This Boy’s Life and gives insight into what goes into writing a good book. As one turns the pages of the novel they discover with every passing chapter that Wolff is a gifted author who has the unique, inane ability to tell a compelling story that leaves readers with something that they can hold onto forever. Although there are no set criteria for what distinguishes a good book from any other, This Boy’s Life fulfills ...view middle of the document...

She is a struggling single mother who, because of a history of abuse, often finds herself in bad relationships. While not everyone has the ability to relate to this situation, many are able to commiserate with her unfortunate situation. The ability to relate to and understand the characters of a novel is a necessary attribute that helps elevate the book and make it great.
As a reader progresses through This Boy’s Life they find that the story of Jack Wolff is anything but ordinary, and that it has the ability to have a profound affect on the point of view and beliefs of a reader. It takes a strong force to be able to change something that is set in its ways; a great book can be one of those powerful forces. Jack Wolff is an unconventional character; he is at times a petty criminal who rebels against the society who rejects him, and he is also a troubled boy who escapes through his imagination. Jack often does things that seem rude and unkind, but Tobias Wolff is able to present these acts with light and humor that allows the reader to feel for Jack even when they may usually be put off by a similar character. For instance, when Jack and his friends wreak havoc on civilians who are attempting to drive their cars past Jack’s friend’s apartment building. Jack and his two friends would pick victims that they would toss eggs onto from up above. At one point they narrow in on a Thunderbird and throw egg after egg, infuriating the man in the car. Despite this horrible juvenile behavior readers are still in awe of Jack. Even when he and his friends break windows at the school he is still lovable and comical. Readers may at first frown upon vandalism and cruel jokes, but by the end of This Boy’s Life they are able to see another side, and change their early views.
There is no way of quantifying a good book; there is no test to check whether or not it is above average, but there are things that can attest to the quality of a text; some simple...

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