06 May 2011

A Boy's Own Story

Recently I read a book of Edmund White A Boy's Own Story. It is an autobiography written in novel style that made its author famous all over the world, especially in the UK and in Japan. It tells about the author's experience as a young boy until the age of 16, who had a problematic relationship with his father.

In the first chapter the author narrates his first sexual experience with another boy when he was 15. He had had sex with girls and grown up women before, but this experience took him by surprise. Although Kevin, the boy he started the new adventure with, was 3 years younger, he realised that Kevin is "the boy", determined, independent and strong in pushing himself forward, while he felt himself was such a sissy. The author described his first sexual experience vividly and meticulously, so that one would think, this would be more of a novel than an autobiography.

The author lived with his workaholic father and socialite-oriented stepmother. He wrote the book 25 years later after the experience, when his father was already dead, so that he was not afraid any more to portray him honestly as he was. The father was rich, liked classical music especially the romantic pieces from Brahms, but at the same time he was such a misanthropist, who found guest visits as a nuisance. The author started the story by describing this characteristic of the father by telling a story, in which his father took him and the children of the guests for a walk, but at late night and in a cold wind. He just did it as a duty cheerlessly.

In contrast are the characteristics of the guest couples: bohemian, drinkers, easygoing, real screw-balls, who his stepmother called "cheap" and his father "aren't stable", because "their money was by no means secure".

After this summary of the first chapter I'm sure you want to read the book as I did. Have fun.

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