THE NEWSPAPER BOY
The Newspaper Boy is a memoir of growing up as the youngest boy in a large, enormously troubled, poor, alcohol-saturated, contentious, and mental health-challenged Irish household in the Midwest rust belt during the 1960s and 70s. As the child of a suicidal, depressed, regretful, and overwhelmed mother of six boys and two girls, and an emotionally-unavailable, alcoholic gambling addict and sometimes violent father who both suffered personality-altering brain injuries when the author was four years old, the author experienced varieties of intense abuse, neglect, and sexual assault that taxed his psyche and impacted his dreams, behavior, choices, and life path. By presenting details of his dramatically unfortunate, lonely, and unprotected childhood – during which he had no grandparents, aunts, or uncles, and there were no reliable siblings, or others to turn to for desperately needed help – this evocative piece provides a window into what it was like to be subjected to abusive treatment by a variety of the older people around him. As a pillar to telling of his childhood, he includes a riveting account of being violently molested and then stalked by a middle-aged man who was a customer on the author’s paper route when he was thirteen years old.
Keywords: boyhood, memoir, male studies, coming of age