There were many things to like about the book, but I particularly enjoyed the level of intimacy revealed to the reader regarding young Philip’s family, warts and all. The book had a memoir feeling to it, and you could be lulled along with family stories and interesting references to life in the early 1940s, only to be brought up short by “historical” events. Tensions played themselves out well between the Roth family as an ideal unit and the Roth family as a fragmented reality, giving us a more rounded picture of human nature, character, and the ways a family might cope under frightful circumstances.I also liked the author’s sense of humor, which was quite devilish at times. How about that chapter with young Philip and his bus buddy, Earl, testing the boundaries of their neighborhood and their own youthful obedience? The author gave them a good fatherly comeuppance when the boys strayed too far into the dark woods (Hansel and Gretel style) of suburbia.
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