Friday, June 02, 2017

Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

I picked up Boy's Life by Robert McCammon because it was recommended in a book list for people who enjoyed Netflix's series Stranger Things.

Set in the early 60's, the novel tells the coming of age story of twelve year old Cory Mackenson.  Cory is just an ordinary boy in a small southern town, until the day he and his father happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and see a car with a man handcuffed to the wheel go into a bottomless lake.

As the mystery of the dead man in the lake haunts Cory's father, Cory himself slowly becomes aware that their little town is more than it seems.  There is magic and wonder and horror in Cory's world, but as Cory begins to grow up, he comes to realize that not all magic is supernatural, and sometimes  monsters (and heroes) are just ordinary people.

Boy's Life does resemble Stranger Things  -  it's also about a boy and his friends coming of age and encountering strange things in their little town, but where Stranger Things is primarily horror and science fiction and is focused on plot, Boy's Life is character driven, combining subtle fantasy with a hard look at human nature.

Cory's first person narration really draws you into the story, but what really made this book work for me was McCammon's writing style,which is poetic, moving, and precise.  Boy's Life is a journey to be slowly savored.  I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed Stephen King's Joyland, or fans of the short fiction of Ray Bradbury.

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