Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While riding with his father on the milk route, Cory Mackenson witnesses a car plunging into a bottomless lake with a dead man handcuffed to the steering wheel. Will they figure out who the man was before the memory destroys them?
Yeah, that's not a great teaser for this. How do you summarize a couple years in the life of a young boy?
I tried hard not to like this book. For the first quarter of it, it wasn't hard. Boy's Life feels overwritten for what it is and Robert McCammon was trying so hard to write like Stephen King that you could taste it. I thought about tossing it back on the to-read mountain. Then it grabbed me. I wolfed it down in less than 24 hours.
While it has some crime and horror elements, Boy's Life is a coming of age tale more than anything else. It reminded me of Stephen King's The Body (aka Stand by Me) at first, but it's a lot more than that.
Cory is eleven when the story begins, growing up in a small Alabama town called Zephyr. While the mysterious dead man in Saxon Lake kicks off the tale, it's really about Cory getting older and world-weary in Zephyr. Since the story takes place in the early 1960's, the civil rights movement and Vietnam are lurking in the background, as are the rise of corporations.
Cory's adventures with his pals were a lot of fun but also harrowing at times. I loved the beast from the lost word and Nemo Curliss. For a twelve year old, Cory was sure in the middle of a lot of weirdness, though. The bit with Rebel added this book to my man-tears shelf. Was Vernon Thaxter a stand-in for McCammon himself?
I thought about giving this a five but couldn't. While I enjoyed the book immensely, I felt like parts of it were cobbled together from various Stephen King tales, like The Body, Christine, Pet Semetery, and others. Also, it seemed excessively wordy for what it was at times, like I mentioned at the beginning.
All things considered, Boy's Life was a great read. Four out of five stars.
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