The stories of this novel in story form act together to present the young life a boy named Peter. Ranging from Peter at ages four to twelve, the stories focus on the moments in childhood that get buried in the mind but are never fully absorbed. Unlike most coming of age tales, Peter is never brought forward into adulthood. Rather, though the stories are reflective, the distance is short. Thus, instead of a how an adult became who they are, the result is a becoming–a sonar picture of the person Peter will be.
This is a collection of intriguing stories which is a great example of what story collections can really be if done properly.
Throughout the stories, we follow Peter as he maneuvers his way through childhood. It was risky of the author to write from this viewpoint, since it is easy for the writing to feel “fake” when the main character is a child. In this case, the narrative is so straight-forward, told in such an innocent way, that the voice becomes poignant, highlighting the cruelties that surround Peter’s childhood.
This is a collection with which we can easily identify. We are immediately drawn in by the narrative voice. One of the gems in the collection is “The Pipe”. It is a wholly surprising story that is written with just the right amount of tension to give the whole scenario an ominous quality. That story really took me by surprise.
I highly recommend this collection. Each one of these stories will leave you thinking, which is the best thing we can expect from writing.