Saturday, July 6, 2013
Townie by Andre Dubus III is a memoir of the author's life, focusing quite a bit on his relationship with his father. Mr. Dubus spent many of his teen and young adult years fighting. His reasons, he realized later, were selfish. He had spent so long living in fear of others that when he learned to fight, telling himself it was to protect himself and others, he actually did it to make himself feel good about not being scared anymore.
His fighting also brought about a new aspect to his relationship with his father. They began to be friends. He didn't understand a lot of the things his father enjoyed, nor did his father understand exactly what his son's life had been like since he had left. His father was proud of how he was able to defend himself and others, though. That made the author feel both happy and ashamed.
It was quite interesting to watch the author evolve from a scared boy in a poor neighborhood, to a tough guy that never backed down from a fight, to an educated, compassionate young man, to a writer.
The thing about this book was that although it wasn't the "I-can't-put-it-down" type, it was a book that after I had been away from it for a while, I was anxious to get back to it to see what was going to happen next in the author's life. Quite honestly, it was a slow read. In fact, it took me a month to read it. I'm glad I did, though. It was a peek into a lifestyle that I would otherwise have no idea about the existence of.
I would encourage anyone who enjoys memoirs to give it a try. Even if you don't speed through it in one night, it's a good story.