My Young Life: A Memoir

Award-winning author Frederic Tuten recounts twenty or so years of his youth (early 1940’s to the 60’s) and does not spare himself.  Reared in the Bronx, he longs for his on-again, off-again father; and, like many (most?), he struggles with agonizing uncertainty while, at the same time, is sure he’s far superior to, well, just about everybody.  Seems he’s not going to be an artist after all, so he gets into and out of college by the skin of his teeth and now desperately wants to write, but you see, his work must be the best anyone has ever seen, must be because….hmm….well, it’s his.  Paralyzing, you know, and always gets in the way of headway.  He tells us, too, openly and in detail, that sex pretty much tops his needs list, and he is in love and lust through a variety of affairs, life consuming chunks.

Along the way, to his good fortune….and credit, Frederic meets so many who see his promise.  They nudge him along and/or back onto his bumpy, twisty path, and we are privileged to meet them as well.  But my favorite and, I think, the most influential character in this young man’s life is New York, the wondrous city itself.  Tuten’s writing is lean, quirky, and rings like a bell, so even though there were times when I wanted to give Fred a good shake and a talking-to, I was engrossed and pulling for him all the way.

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Full Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided to me by Simon & Schuster via NetGalley. I would like to thank the publisher and the author for providing me this opportunity. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

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