American Boy

Larry Watson

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American Boy

American Boy Esquire Top Books of the YearMidwest Booksellers Choice Award FinalistBooklist Editor s Choice Best BookPublishers Weekly Top Indie Sleeper HitsWBEZ Chicago Top Books of We were expos

  • Title: American Boy
  • Author: Larry Watson
  • ISBN: 9781571310781
  • Page: 449
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Esquire Top 9 Books of the YearMidwest Booksellers Choice Award FinalistBooklist Editor s Choice 2011 Best BookPublishers Weekly 20 Top Indie Sleeper HitsWBEZ Chicago Top 10 Books of 2011We were exposed to these phenomena in order that we might learn something, but of course the lessons we learn are not always those we are taught .So begins Matthew Garth s story of theEsquire Top 9 Books of the YearMidwest Booksellers Choice Award FinalistBooklist Editor s Choice 2011 Best BookPublishers Weekly 20 Top Indie Sleeper HitsWBEZ Chicago Top 10 Books of 2011We were exposed to these phenomena in order that we might learn something, but of course the lessons we learn are not always those we are taught .So begins Matthew Garth s story of the fall of 1962, when the shooting of a young woman on Thanksgiving Day sets off a chain of unsettling events in Willow Falls, Minnesota Matthew first sees Louisa Lindahl in Dr Dunbar s home office, and at the time her bullet wound makes nearly as strong an impression as her unclothed body Fueled over the following weeks by his feverish longing for this mysterious woman as well as by a deep desire for the comfort and affluence that appears to surround the Dunbars Matthew finds himself drawn into a series of confrontations he never expected, the results of which will change his life irrevocably and give lie to his version of the American dream.Immersive, heartbreaking, and richly evocative of time and place, this long awaited new novel marks the return of a great American storyteller.

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      Posted by:Larry Watson
      Published :2018-08-02T15:22:43+00:00

    One thought on “American Boy

    1. Marita on said:

      With American Boy Larry Watson once again displays his skill in writing sparsely yet effectively. Mathew Garth and his buddy Johnny Dunbar avidly listen to Doctor Dunbar when he describes various medical conditions to them, and they have their sights on becoming doctors just like the man they so admire. Doctor Dunbar even allows them to see certain cases firsthand (with the patients’ consent of course!). However, when Louisa Lindahl lands on the doctor’s table after having been shot, every t [...]

    2. Zoeytron on said:

      Larry Watson picks us up and sets us down, right smack dab in the middle of the small Minnesota town of Willow Falls. The year is 1962. Best friends Matt Garth and Johnny Dunbar are 16 years old and they are about to learn some of life's hard lessons.The bitter, biting cold of the Minnesota winter is brought home by the car defrosters that aren't able to keep up with the ice forming on the inside of the windshields. Blinding bursts of snow, swirling and blowing, bone numbing temperatures. Glad I [...]

    3. Timothy Bazzett on said:

      Larry Watson's AMERICAN BOY is an all-American, universal kind of story that will resonate with anyone who grew up in the American heartland of the 50s and 60s. The typical small town of those decades is portrayed perfectly - those downtown blocks that held hardware and grocery stores with the local lawyer and doctor upstairs over the drugstore. Even the latest Plymouth-Dodge innovation, that infamous and short-lived push-button transmission, is featured, the same one that was immortalized in so [...]

    4. Carol on said:

      Really enjoyed this coming-of-age story set in 1960's Minnesota. Mathew Garth, a fatherless teen of 17 is the American Boy and protagonist in this tale who spends most of his time at his friend Johnny's home learning about medicine and the good and bad parts of life from J's father Dr. Dunbar. Have only read one other novel by this author, Let Him Go: A Novel that I rated 5 stars, by the way, but plan on reading more. A super fast easy read!

    5. Sheri on said:

      I really enjoyed this novel. I started it last night and finished it this afternoon; absolutely could not put it down. I loved the tone, it reminded me of Franzen's Corrections (time period and adolescent/family struggle).Matt Garth was such a forceful character; always trying to do right while struggling with his own realization that his hero/father figure Dr. Dunbar was so flawed. I loved that Johnny was such a hole in the wall until the pivotal car racing scene; after that he grew a back bone [...]

    6. Julie Ekkers on said:

      American Boy is a very well-written novel about the sometimes dark underbelly of small town America. It is set in a small town in Minnesota in the early sixties, and concerns the events that unfold in the wake of the shooting of a young woman, Louisa, who is treated by the town's doctor, Dr. Dunbar, and survives. She is a source of fascination for the narrator, Matthew, who is such close friends with Dr. Dunbar's son, Johnny, that they are often mistaken for brothers. Instead, Matt is the son of [...]

    7. Theresa on said:

      I like Watson's writing style, but don't care much for his themes, characters, or point of view. Doesn't seem like a lot to like, does it? I really enjoyed Montana 1948, but had not sympathy for the protagonist in this novel, or any real interest in the conflict resolution. I simply didn't care that the kid became obsessed with the woman because he saw her naked breasts. It was just an odd story to me.

    8. Natalie on said:

      Maybe it's "just a phase I'm going through" but this is a hell of a story.A harsh landscape, hard lessons and an awakening not to be envied combine to make up a a story that packs a punch.

    9. Larry H on said:

      Some authors seem as if their style and storytelling would fit in perfectly in a different era. Larry Watson, who has written some truly fantastic books, including Montana 1948, Justice and In a Dark Time, is one of those writers. Many of his books would be appropriate companions to those by Fitzgerald or Faulkner, both in setting (many of his stories take place in earlier times) and because his narrative, while spare, packs the power of earlier writers. Matthew Garth is a working-class teenager [...]

    10. Artie on said:

      This book had some 5 star moments, but I'm going to be critical of it. The exposition really didn't work for me. The little italics start of course really perked me interest, I thought I would never be able to set it down, but then it really flopped. The first 20-30 pages are plagued with flash-backs that took away from what was happening at that time in the story more than they added characterization or perspective. Anyway, I think this characterization could have been done in a way that would [...]

    11. Jim B on said:

      Coming of age books always include certain milestones in growing to adulthood. Since adults are not the same, stories of sexuality, growing to maturity and responsibility, and the problems of parents are the notes which vary in every version of that stage of life. I appreciated American Boy's exploration of being a son (two friends, one fatherless who becomes part of the other's family during his teen years), the awkwardness of being a boy relating to women, and the formation of character. I won [...]

    12. Larry on said:

      1963, small-town Minnesota. Matt Garth and best friend Johnny Dunbar are high school kids who do the things normal high school kids do; drink beer, smoke lots of cigarettes, cruise main street for girls and take a keen interest in medical doctoring. Well, ok, that last one is not so normal. Johnny's dad is the highly regarded town physician, and he has taken the boys under his wing for some mentoring. But a sexy "older" woman with a gunshot wound enters the picture and at first things get a litt [...]

    13. LibraryCin on said:

      3.5 starsIt is the 1960s. Matthew and Johnny (both 17 years old) are best friends. Matt only has his mom and they are just getting by. Johnny's dad is the local doctor and his family is very well off. Matt spends most of his time at Johnny's place. Both boys are interested in following in Dr. Dunbar's footsteps by becoming doctors. When a local young woman is found shot, Dr. Dunbar takes her home (where he also has his clinic) to take care of her and the boys, especially Matt, take a particular [...]

    14. JoAnne Pulcino on said:

      AMERICAN BOYBy Larry WatsonThis long time favorite author of mine has triumphed with a marvelous book that may eclipse the treasured MONTANA 1948. A true American future classic.This poignant coming of age story begins on Thanksgiving Day in the fall of 1962 when a chain of unsettling events occur in Willow Falls, Minnesota. A young woman is shot and Matthew Garth’s life changes forever when he is blindsided with his feverish desire for the mysterious woman, and his deep longing for the comfor [...]

    15. Adele Stratton on said:

      A simple but engaging coming-of-age story by one of my favorite authors. Without even a glimpse of what’s going on in the good doctor’s head, Watson is able to show us the inconsistencies as well as the unintended consequences of a big-fish-in-a-small-pond adult who takes on the role of professional and moral mentor to a fatherless boy who is the best friend of his own son. Watson’s ability to place readers in a frigid car with two confused teenagers driving through a Minnesota blizzard is [...]

    16. Nick Schroeder on said:

      A coming-of-age story set in southwest Minnesota in 1963. A well written story that leaves you thinking about the choices made by a young man. How his naive and narrow view of the world is changed by events that he thinks he is involved in but comes to realize that he has no control over. (It's late and I'll edit and expand on this tomorrow.)

    17. Angela on said:

      I would rank this title third in Larry Watson's works, behind Montana 1948 (favorite!) and White Crosses. I prefer this book over (in no particular order) In a Dark Time, Justice, Orchard, and Laura. The rest I have yet to read!

    18. Linda on said:

      Larry Watson has written a wonderful, coming of age story set in the 1960s in Willow Falls, Minnesota. I love the way he writes; his sentences flow and his words are crisp. Our hero is Matt Garth who comes from a single parent home; life is a struggle for Matt and his hard-working Mom. Matt's best friend is Johnny Dunbar. Johnny's life represents everything that Matt's does not. Johnny's father, Rex is the town's family doctor and Rex includes Matt and Johnny in many of his medical procedures in [...]

    19. Cathy on said:

      3.5 stars. This is the first book I've read by this author; I would definitely read more. The story was interesting and the characters were very engaging. The Minnesota winter weather descriptions were so spot on; so relatable to this Wisconsinite.

    20. Daomi Strickland on said:

      Reminiscent of "Laura", Larry Watson's soft, slow, seductive writing pulls you in to hang onto every word about these normal people from a normal town. We, who are from small towns, can especially relate and appreciate that, if told well, as Watson does, every life has a great story in it.

    21. Mckinley on said:

      I like his writing and the story grew on me. At first I wasn't up to angst-ful teen boy and there is more to the story than that.

    22. Wendy on said:

      A small Minnesota town, in winter, in 1962 and a teen's life is deeply affected by the shooting of a young woman. Larry Watson writes so elegantly.

    23. Terri on said:

      Larry Watson has written another novel, like "Montana 1948," that has the feel of a classic. I kept thinking about "Of Mice and Men" and Marilyn Monroe as I was reading it."American Boy" (great cover, by the way - it's what got my attention - then I saw the author's name and pulled it from a pile of hundreds of new books and put it at the top of my "to read" list) is set in 1962 in rural Minnesota. Seventeen year old Matthew Garth, fatherless, is our first person narrator and protagonist. He spe [...]

    24. Book Concierge on said:

      Matthew Garth is a high school senior in the fall of 1962. He and his widowed mother live in Willow Falls, a small town in Southwest Minnesota. Although his mother works long hours at the local supper club, Matt doesn’t feel abandoned. He’s been accepted into the family of Dr. Dunbar, whose son Johnny is Matt’s best friend. Dr. Dunbar patiently and thoroughly explains the rudiments of medicine to the boys who are both interested in becoming doctors. So when their Thanksgiving meal is inter [...]

    25. Keirstan on said:

      Larry Watson’s new novel American Boy is a classic coming-of-age story. Despite the fact that many novelists before him have worked to perfect this theme, Watson’s take, for me, was especially resonant with its classically Midwestern setting and characters. This, coupled with Watson’s wonderful sense of language, made for a great winter read.Matthew Garth is Midwestern to the core, born and raised in the small town of Willow Falls, Minnesota. After the death of his father several years bef [...]

    26. William Baker on said:

      I am going to shock you all by actually liking something this time. I rated this one 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. First off, I am a tough reviewer. Only the most excellent works, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, will get a 5 star rating out of me. 4 stars is almost as tough.This is a good, contemporary work of fiction. Other reviews I read of it used the tired old phrase "coming of age novel". I don't like that phrase and it doesn't really fit this book to me.I found this book engaging, believable, and w [...]

    27. Scott on said:

      Larry Watson's American Boy is a great, endearing coming of age novel. A brief summary: Matthew Garth and Johnny Dunbar are best teenage friends. Matthew does not have a dad in his life and has let Johnny's dad step in as a fill in father. Actually, Matthew might as well become a Dunbar himself as he spends almost all of his time with their family. It is the early 1960s in a small town in Minnesota and a young lady, slightly older than Matt and Johnny gets shot but lives. This incident triggers [...]

    28. Rebecca Dougherty on said:

      This book is extremely well written, and the protagonist is very well developed. Typically in order to so strongly identify w/ a character, I have more personally in common with her/him, but this is not the case w/ Matt Garth. Several of the supporting characters such as Matt's best friend, Johnny, and Dr. Dunbar are also well developed. I would have liked to have learned more about Matt's mother, but the women in this book were a little one dimensional. Come to think of it so were the men, but [...]

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