YOUNG ERIC MALONE: New England Stories, 1950-67
by Ed Mahoney
What was it like to grow up in New England of decades ago? How did Eric cope with the adventures and anxieties of boyhood and then with the challenges of high school and college life?
How did Eric choose his friends, hide or face his mistakes, and justify his evasions? What happened with the debater's talent that he pursued without quite understanding it?
This fictional memoir of fourteen chronological stories takes the reader through a simpler, yet complex enough era when ethnic and religious changes ruffled established values. What should he do about a rock-throwing rival, the meaning of "forever," friends whose cultures clashed, and girls who were a mystery and a dilemma? What to say and not say to parents, teachers, and to all those nuns/priests/brothers who understood but didn't exactly?
"All the ingredients for happiness are at hand," Eric imagined a college classmate telling him, but putting those ingredients together was like trying to figure out where Catholicism was going after Vatican II or why exactly the U.S. was in Vietnam and where that policy would lead.
I am eager to hear what young readers think about how their "grandfather" came of age. And what about you older readers? Have I got it right, or was it different for you? Please remember also that a "fictional memoir" may be culturally true without being literally true. Thanks for your interest in YEM. Please tell me what you think of these old portraits from life when I was young.