Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon, George Newbern

"Boy's Life" has been in my TBR pile since July 2016. I'm finally getting to it as part of my 20 for 20 reading challenge to read books that are 20+ hours long. It's been highly recommended to me by folks here, so I'm looking forward to it.


I can see that the style is meant to evoke nostalgia for 1960's small-town life in Alabama and then add in a twist of something off-beat in a sort of "Stand By Me" way.


I found the nostalgia part difficult for two reasons. Firstly, when I was eleven, I was nothing like as nice as this guy. He's so wholesome, it hurts. I never did get the whole hero worship thing or wanting to be Batman or Tarzan. So, even if I'd lived in his small town, I'd never have seen what he sees. Secondly, I kept being struck by how different Zephyr Alabama is from my experience. It turns out that the "town" is 1,500 people. To me, that's a village. A small village. Then I'm told this tiny place has four churches. That seems an awful lot, especially if they're all different denominations. 1,500 people living next to one another with four different versions of God. And this place has a founder. I've never lived anywhere that has a founder. And so on.


I found it fascinating but in the same way I'd be fascinated by the world-building in an SF novel.


What won me over was the description of the kids going to the Saturday matinee and getting creeped out by the second feature, a movie about an alien invasion in a sort of body-snatcher style. I thought this was very well done and I can see how it might link to the wider story being told.


As long as the main character doesn't stay so alter-boyish, I think I'll have fun with this.