Fraternal memoirs

John Robison’s book about growing up with Asperger’s is getting lots of attention, at least in part because he’s the older brother of wacky memoirist Augusten Burroughs. I haven’t read either of their books, but they do present an occasion for suggesting that you read This Boy’s Life and The Duke of Deception. The family: father a glorious conman, mother a long-suffering helpmeet who suddenly decides she’s been suffering long enough and takes off. Mother takes one boy, father keeps the other. Both boys grow up to be novelists: Tobias Wolff and Geoffrey Wolff, respectively. And by reading both books, you can have the disconcerting experience of reading the same story filtered through two very different literary minds. Which of course means it’s not really the same story, although some of the same things happen.

Recommended, recommended, recommended! Especially the Geoffrey Wolff. Bonus recommendation: his novel The Final Club is probably the best Ivy League coming-of-age novel, though since I read it while coming of age in the Ivy League my judgment might be suspect.

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One thought on “Fraternal memoirs

  1. Dirty Davey says:

    Another “fraternal memoir”: Jonathan Self’s Self Abuse. Jonathan being the older brother of Will, whose many books do not yet include a real memoir.

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