Monday, November 02, 2009

Late Bloomer

Exeter and Harvard would be part of my life like my one tweed jacket that Bob had worn before me. Now it was my turn.
- Nathaniel Bickford, Late Bloomer, p. 41

Late in his life a lawyer with a distinguished career looks back on his schooling and in doing so uncovers two incidences that shaped his college and early career and perhaps his whole life. The son of a lawyer with one older brother Nathaniel Bickford was an average student who was privileged to attend private schools. He spent his days playing tennis and idolizing his hero, Gil Hodges, but he was also a serious reader. He would eventually shine as a writer for the school paper in his Junior and Senior years at Williston Academy. His experiences at two private college prep schools included incidences that he shares in both intimate and dramatic fashion. In some respects this memoir can be compared with the fictional account in A Separate Peace, but it is different in many ways and it is a very personal story. Bickford's memoir is well-written and a seemingly honest reflection on the impact of school masters who went beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior. That he survived and flourished in the remainder of his life is a testament to his determination and values. I found his story both interesting and moving.

Late Bloomer by Nathaniel Bickford. Tidepool Press, Cambridge, Mass. 2008

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