America's Boy: Memoir

Sun. June 4, 2006 12:00 AM
by Salvatore Sapienza

Book: America's Boy: A Memoir
Author: Wade Rouse
Review: 5 stars (out of 5)
I, too, am America's Boy

A good memoir brings the reader into another's world, having them walk in someone else's shoes for awhile, and does so in an entertaining fashion. A great memoir does the same but goes beyond, bringing the reader to examine his/her own life in the process. "America's Boy" is a great memoir.

Although Rouse and I were raised in vastly different manners, I came away with a better understanding of my own life's journey by reading his. Like many popular recent memoirs, Rouse's book is an easy read, full of witty pop culture references and funny tales of quirky family members and an unconventional childhood. What sets it apart is its sweetness and poignancy.

The book caused me to reflect on my own losses in life and examine how they've shaped me. I came away with a greater appreciation of my own parents who - though very different from Rouse's - also did the best they knew how with the cards life dealt them. Then, at times, shockingly honest Rouse reflects on the mistakes he has made and the people he's hurt, and I become inspired to examine my own weaknesses. Rouse's aunt tells young Wade how she hopes his life will be filled with many chapters. I know that I look forward to reading his next memoir and discovering more about myself in the process.