Author Topic: Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon  (Read 230 times)

ageless-human

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Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
« on: July 26, 2020, 05:50:47 PM »
Has anyone here ever read Boy's Life?

I just finished it and I'm awestruck. The story touches on the innocence of childhood and I think in a way this is what really makes me want to pursue FI. The carefree world that you get to live in being FI is the closest you get to having your childhood back. On top of that, the book takes place in the 1960s south and the town seems idyllic. It's not without it's faults such as segregation, but the quaintness and community aspect are something that I don't see much of in the modern age.

I'm curious to see this community's thoughts about the book.

I'll leave you one of my favorite passages:

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We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God's sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they'd allowed to wither in themselves.

rosarugosa

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Re: Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2020, 06:31:12 AM »
I did read it a long time ago, probably when the book was a new release, so not too clear on the details at this point. You mention segregation, and that's a good reminder that the "good old days" weren't good for everyone.
I am retired (a little bit early, but not really early by MMM standards) and I often feel like a kid on endless school vacation, especially on a beautiful summer day.

ageless-human

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Re: Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2020, 07:39:56 AM »
You mention segregation, and that's a good reminder that the "good old days" weren't good for everyone.

For sure, but I still wonder what's been lost from the world that everyone seems to constantly be at odds.

Here's another passage that really got to me. To set the scene, the protagonist is now an older man and goes back to his hometown to see what's left of it.

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Everything is closed. Mr. Dollar’s barbershop, the Piggly-Wiggly, the Bright Star Cafe, the hardware store, the Lyric, everything. The windows of the Woolworth’s are soaped over. The growth of retail outlets, apartments, and a shopping mall with four theaters in Union Town consumed the spirit of Zephyr, as Big Paul’s Pantry finished off the milkman’s route. This is a going-forward, but is it progress?

I think the lost of community is because of urbanization. I'm not sure why, but in the city setting people just don't interact like they did in small towns.

rosarugosa

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Re: Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2020, 04:45:38 AM »
You might like "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson.  It's non-fiction, but he's a very insightful and witty writer and talks a lot about the dynamics of his childhood in the Midwest of the fifties in contrast to life in modern America.
I live in a reasonably prosperous suburb of Boston and it seems like we gave up a lot of the vitality in our town centers when we built a large mall on the highway. 

ageless-human

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Re: Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2020, 04:21:05 PM »
You might like "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson.  It's non-fiction, but he's a very insightful and witty writer and talks a lot about the dynamics of his childhood in the Midwest of the fifties in contrast to life in modern America.
I live in a reasonably prosperous suburb of Boston and it seems like we gave up a lot of the vitality in our town centers when we built a large mall on the highway.

Thank you, I will check that book out! I've been looking for similar books, the only other I've found is It by Stephen King.

rosarugosa

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Re: Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2020, 01:22:49 PM »
You might like "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson.  It's non-fiction, but he's a very insightful and witty writer and talks a lot about the dynamics of his childhood in the Midwest of the fifties in contrast to life in modern America.
I live in a reasonably prosperous suburb of Boston and it seems like we gave up a lot of the vitality in our town centers when we built a large mall on the highway.

Thank you, I will check that book out! I've been looking for similar books, the only other I've found is It by Stephen King.
Yes, I was thinking that Stephen King often captures that childhood essence. Another one to try is "Summer of Night" by Dan Simmons.  Funny, because he is another horror writer and it was published the same year as "A Boy's Life." That's also one I would have read almost 30 years ago, so fuzzy on the details, but i remember that I really liked it and for similar reasons as these other books.
To jump back to Bryson, he had some insights that are pretty relevant to Mustachianism, e.g. "By the 1960s, the average American was producing twice as much as only fifteen years before. In theory at least, people could now afford to work a four-hour day, or two-and-a-half-day week, or six-month year and still maintain a standard of living equivalent to that enjoyed by people in 1950 when life was already pretty good - and arguably, in terms of stress and distraction and sense of urgency, in many respects much better. Instead, and almost uniquely among developed nations, Americans took none of the productivity gains in additional leisure. We decided to work and buy and have instead."

ageless-human

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Re: Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2020, 07:40:00 AM »
Yes, I was thinking that Stephen King often captures that childhood essence. Another one to try is "Summer of Night" by Dan Simmons.  Funny, because he is another horror writer and it was published the same year as "A Boy's Life." That's also one I would have read almost 30 years ago, so fuzzy on the details, but i remember that I really liked it and for similar reasons as these other books.
To jump back to Bryson, he had some insights that are pretty relevant to Mustachianism, e.g. "By the 1960s, the average American was producing twice as much as only fifteen years before. In theory at least, people could now afford to work a four-hour day, or two-and-a-half-day week, or six-month year and still maintain a standard of living equivalent to that enjoyed by people in 1950 when life was already pretty good - and arguably, in terms of stress and distraction and sense of urgency, in many respects much better. Instead, and almost uniquely among developed nations, Americans took none of the productivity gains in additional leisure. We decided to work and buy and have instead."

It's funny to me that so many horror authors are such talented writers!

That's a good quote from Bryson. I've seen metrics that really put that into perspective, such as the average square footage of a house has increased significantly and at the same time the number of average occupants has decreased. It was warranted at first when you had a several people living in <1000 sq ft early in the 20th century, but now it's just crazy where you have an average of 4 people living in 3000+ sq ft.