Concrete, WA
Photo of Concrete, Washington, by Dean Forbes used under a Creative Commons license.

Tobias Wolff, This Boy’s Life (Grove Press, 2000).
A memoir of Wolff’s years as a troubled teenager in the 1950s and early 1960s. On the run from an abusive boyfriend, Wolff and his mother got off a bus in the Seattle area, and tried to make a new life in western Washington. Wolff found himself in difficulty of various kinds, most of all in his new stepfather, a cruel and abusive man. Wolff responded by re-inventing himself in different ways, such as by becoming a Boy Scout. While these were not the happiest of times he can be mordantly funny. Originally published in 1989.

Google Book Search has an excerpt, among other things. (Note, though, that several of the reviews are of the movie instead.) Christopher Lehmann-Haupt reviewed the book for The New York Times. John A. Woodcock takes a somewhat medical perspective at NYU’s Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database. John Self posts at Palimpsest. Jen Teitle writes about meeting Tobias Wolff. This New York Times article is about Concrete and neighboring towns.

Buy this book at Amazon.com.