Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon
This is a book rich in imagery, innocence, good and evil. It is a book that is far above the standard set by Stephen King and his stories of small town America. This story is set in Zephyr Alabama and follows the coming of age of a young and exuberant Cory Mackenson. From the opening chapter our attention is grabbed as Cory and his father our delivering milk one morning ,they avoid a collision with an auto mobile travelling towards them as it crashes into the nearby lake. Corey's father dives into the lake deep down, and tries to rescue the driver, who is naked and handcuffed to the steering wheel, but he is unsuccessful in his rescue attempt. This image of the trapped man haunts Cory's dad throughout the book and fills his every day with feelings of inadequacy and suicide. This however is only one of many images and stories that entertain and enthral the reader. We feel Cory's love of life and freedom, when school recesses for the summer and Cory and his friends sprout wings and fly, a lovely magical scene depicting the sense of freedom that only the coming of school holidays can bring. We learn of Cory's sadness when his old and trusty bicycle collapses, when he returns with his father to collect and perhaps repair the bike is no longer there but has disappeared collected by Mr Scully the local scrap metal merchant, the description at the scrap yard where Cory's bike is now "dead" is funny and touching. Corey is presented with a brand new bicycle by "The Lady" and he names it "rocket", Cory and rocket have many great adventures together. The residents of Zephyr are both eccentric and fun, at the local barber shop we meet one elderly gentleman who supposedly saved the life of Wyatt Earp, and proceeds to tell a colourful story. At a later stage in the book there is a scene reminiscent of High Noon when there is a shoot out at the bus station with the local bad guys and our elderly gentleman again saves the day, a lovely fun and touching scene. The music of the beach boys enrages the town's clergyman and he preaches hell and damnation to the locals with very funny overtones. Equally there are some very touching chapters when Cory's best friend accidentally falls on a rifle,the rifle discharges and he dies, or Cory reading a copy of "Life" in his room and looking at pictures of the assassination of Kennedy, the war in Vietnam, awakening him to the realities and cruelties of the human spirit. In the final chapters we travel forward in time and meet Cory as a grown man returning to his place of birth only to find as we all do that his childhood memories, and places he knew no longer exist...lost in time
This is a truly entertaining, exciting and enjoyable book rich in heart-warming dialogue, imagery, sadness and hope. It makes the reader laugh and cry, it makes the reader warm to a story of outstanding beauty and a dialogue that is rich in it's delivery. This is a story that has certainly touched me, and will live in my mind and memory for a very long time. I highly recommend and hope this review will encourage many to join Cory on a trip down memory lane and meet the residents of Zephyr Alabama.