Tom Perrotta’s Book Picks

TheweekI love The Week. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s a weekly magazine that collects notable stories from the week’s newspapers, magazines, etc. into one place. So if you don’t have a lot of time — and who does? — you can read the best of the week’s offerings quickly, in one place.

The Week features book reviews as well — usually reprinting three major book reviews, a digest of recent book reviews in a particular category (memoir, sc-fi, debut novels, etc), and – my favorite – a spotlight on a particular author and his or her favorite books. A few weeks ago, they featured Tom Perrotta (whom I have blogged about here and here) and his favorite books.  An interesting list – The Great Gatsby, Our Kind, The Keep, Lost in the City – and the one I am most likely to read: This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff.

This Boy’s Life is one of those books I have seen around but never really focused on. Here’s what Tom Perrotta said about it:

A contemporary masterpiece. Wolff has written an inspiring and heartbreaking story about the way we transform our lives through the lies we tell to and about ourselves.  A sly moral defense of fiction as a survival mechanism, this also happens to be one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

From Amazon:

Fiction writer Tobias Wolff electrified critics with his scarifying 1989 memoir, which many deemed as notable for its artful structure and finely wrought prose as for the events it describes. The story is pretty grim: Teenaged Wolff moves with his divorced mother from Florida to Utah to Washington State to escape her violent boyfriend. When she remarries, Wolff finds himself in a bitter battle of wills with his abusive stepfather, a contest in which the two prove to be more evenly matched than might have been supposed. Deception, disguise, and illusion are the weapons the young man learns to employ as he grows up–not bad training for a writer-to-be. Somber though this tale of family strife is, it is also darkly funny and so artistically satisfying that most readers come away exhilarated rather than depressed.

The book, which was released in 1989, was made into a movie in 1993 starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro.

Has anyone read This Boy’s Life? Worth it?