Townie: A Memoir

Townie: A Memoir - Andre Dubus III

This is a rough book. It is about violence in all its forms, except war and genocide. Violence on a personal level. If swear words and rape and drugs are going to put you off, well then maybe this isn't a book for you. But read on. It is also about a dysfunctional family. I don't like dysfunctional family stories, or that is what I thought! But hey there is an exception to every rule. Maybe I so very much liked it because it is no story; it is autobiographical! I also know that I liked it because of the writing. Andre Dubus III, can write. A good author can write about any topic and this is a good author.

Excellent writing. Descriptive so you see and feel the atmosphere and tension of the scene. He describes the accouterments of a bar, a bloody body after a fight, and even some humor is thrown in. It is said, "In one of those games with a ball in it....." As a child, Andre NEVER went to a ball game, be it baseball or football or tennis. Absolutely no ball games! How could he? His single mother worked; his father saw him so infrequently that he simply was never there. Money? Poor; he was lucky if he had a pair of shoes. Dialogs are pitch-perfect. The writing is about rough situations but each word is absolutely perfect.

I feel I better understand why someone would turn to violence. The author turned to violence to protect himself and his family, and then that violence took over, and where would it ever end? That is the question he comes to. That is the question that the reader looks at. That is the central question of the book, but you do not accuse and you understand and you do not merely place blame. The book is all about family relationships. Jeez, what we do to each other! The reason why this book is so good is that even if you are not a violent person yourself, you understand why one could become violent and you stop accusing and blaming and looking down on those who have taken that misstep. And where does it end? In more violence? In death? But you know he is now a writer so read on.

The audiobook is narrated by the author himself. It couldn't have been better. He is telling you how he felt. You feel his sorrow and anger, confusion and questions. He is telling his story, and no one else should tell his story but him.

I shouldn't have liked this book, but I certainly did. Good book. Very, very good book. Definitely deserves four stars.