This memoir recounts Dubus's life growing up poor in the 1970s in Haverill, an impoverished mill town on the Merrimack River, an environment I'm very familiar with from my years in Worcester. Dubus's father, a writer and professor at Bradford College across the river, left the family when Andre was 11. Burdened with the responsibility he's undertaken to protect his two sisters and younger brother while their embattled mother works to support the family, Andre struggles with what he believes to be his own cowardice.
There are all kinds of reasons for writing a memoir, such as to record your life for your children or to work through a difficult time in your past. A memoir for the general public, though, must be about more than "I had a hard life." Continue reading