Thursday, November 15, 2007
This memoir is truly a boy's story. The narrator tells the story from a boy's point of view with vivid details and wonderful vignettes. From the first page, where he comments "We were to be seen and not heard.", the narrative is filled with moments that resonated for me even though my own boyhood was much different than the author's. I found the episodic style another aspect that made this like a boy's story for it seemed more natural that he would tell it in this, somewhat unorganized, manner. Nevertheless I looked forward to each chapter and the new events and information that it would bring. The characters and events seemed real even when we learn few details about them.
The memoir provided sufficient detail to bring a different place and time alive. The accumulation of episodes and events led to a rich picture of another era when things were truly simpler. Again this rang true to me based on my own boyhood. The narrator includes changes in his life like the separation of his parents and his school experiences that provide an additional layer of meaning for the memoir. While there was a certain detachment of the narrator from all of this, the result for this reader was that the memoir took on a dreamlike quality that enhanced the feeling of difference in this particular place.
Through its presentation as an episodic boy's story the overall effect was one that made me feel that I was a participant in this story. I was satisfied as the narrative ended that I had shared some part of this interesting boyhood.
Hooligan: A Mormon Boyhood by Douglas Thayer. Zarahemla Books, Provo, Utah. 2007.