Saturday, January 14

Book Review: Childhood

Title: Childhood

Author: André Alexis

Pages: 265

Summary: Uniquely imagined and vividly evoked, André Alexis’ prize-winning novel chronicles the childhood - or perhaps the loss of childhood - of Thomas MacMillan, who sets out to piece together the early years of his life. Raised in Southern Ontario town in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Thomas is abandoned to the car of his eccentric Trinidadian grandmother. Then, at ten, his mother, Katarina, reclaims him, taking him to Ottawa and to her once-splendid Victorian home of Henry Wing, a gentle conjurer whose love of science and the imagination becomes an important legacy. But is he Thomas’ father? Moving and wryly humorous , Childhood tells the story of a man’s quest for what is lost, bringing him closer to the truth about himself.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed aspects of the book, and thought it was a great coming of age story, in the end I felt that there was something missing from the book to set it aside from others of its kind.

The author was original in a sense in how he told the story, separating it into sections that reflect school subjects, which in a sense, reflected that section of the protagonist's childhood and experiences. Which I found to be clever. I also enjoyed the connection between the Thomas and Henry, the role-model/father-son relationship they had was extremely well done and I thought the author wrote these parts wonderfully.

But the book just didn't keep my interest, the characters were hard to connect to, while the author caught the time period and setting, I didn't find any of them to be very memorable I was also waiting to see something more come from the story, something extra to give it that extra push to set it aside from the other coming of age books. How the author wrote the book and chose to set it up was different, but the overall story was the same. But it was still a fairly good read nonetheless.

Would I recommend it to read: I probably would, the story was a good coming of age/reflection of childhood. I think readers who enjoy those types of stories would really likely enjoy the book.

What to read next: The author has written another book he's known for, Asylum, I'd recommend that book. I wouldn't run out to read him again, but I would definitely read him again in the future.

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Canadian Award Winners Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge V, Mount TBR Challenge, New Authors Challenge


  1. I do like coming of age stories, and the fact that this one is sort of artfully arranged makes me think that I would like it. Great review today Jules! It sounds like this one would make for a good read. :)

  2. I have seen this book in the second hand bookstore many times, but I think you are the first I have seen to read and review it. Probably not for me but I enjoyed reading your take on it.

  3. Zibilee - It was interesting how the author broke up the book, it may be a good choice for you to read. It does a good job at exploring a person's childhood.

    Kailana - I haven't seen hardly any reviews on it my self, and has been sitting on my shelf since my second year of university - almost 7 years now. So I finally read it. It was a good chance, but not a book for everyone.