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Publisher's Summary

Originally published in 1982 as the first of Edmund White's trilogy of autobiographical novels, A Boy's Own Story became an instant classic for its pioneering portrayal of homosexuality. The audiobook's unnamed narrator, growing up during the 1950s, is beset by aloof parents, a cruel sister, and relentless mocking from his peers, compelling him to seek out works of art and literature as solace-and to uncover new relationships in the struggle to embrace his own sexuality. Lyrical and poignant, with powerful evocations of shame and yearning, this is an American literary treasure.

©1997 Edmund White (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about A Boy's Own Story

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  • Bosco
  • 03-06-2018

Excellent Book, Mediocre Narration

White's writing is impeccable, and despite the erudite package, the story really moves. Unfortunately, the narration was wrong. Listening to an older man read the book just seemed very wrong. I would suggest a much younger voice. Backman's voice wasn't ideal at the best of times, but there were times when he sounded like an old man imitating a toddler.

3 people found this helpful

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  • James Vickers
  • 05-03-2018

Alright Book Killed By Terrible Narrator

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I think this book would be more thoroughly enjoyed with a different narrator or read on its own.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

It's unfortunate that George Backman continues as narrator for the other titles in this trilogy. I think there is some great prose, constructing an otherwise okay plot but is completely ruined by the performance of the narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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  • TiffanyD
  • 18-01-2021

Pioneering memoir/novel holds up pretty well

LGBTQ rights and cultural portrayals have changed so fast in my lifetime that sometimes the most radical of books/movies/TV shows of just a few years ago now seem horribly dated. That wasn't the case for this book, a sort of fictionalized memoir first published in the early 1980s. Certainly there are things that we can roll our eyes at these days, but this story is so matter of fact and so firmly placed in its own time and place, that while it can feel like an historical relic, it doesn't feel embarrassingly dated.

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  • Andrei
  • 13-12-2020

One of the greatest novels of all time

Beats Salinger's Catcher in the rye by huge strides. Absolutely astonishing novel for anyone who is interested in the story of a young man growing up in a homophobic America. Everyone bashes George Backman- absolutely unfairly. George Backman's voice conveys urgency, neurosis and gayness of a character very astutely. Excellent reading on all counts.

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  • David
  • 04-12-2020

It bored me

I found it tedious to listen to and didn't make it past half of third chapter before I could not punish myself to endure it any longer

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  • Tuesdays music
  • 04-12-2020

The upper middle class gay white man

the book gives you an honest view of gay life, but only if you're upper middle class gay and white. all the black characters are horrible stereotypes. it shows that just because you're gay doesn't mean you can't be racist. the writer has no use for anyone who isn't gay and white. it's worth a one time read just to show you how terrible gay white men can truly be.

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  • Kelly
  • 07-06-2018

I am not the right audience

I can see why this book is beloved, especially by the LGBTQIA community. I believe that Edmund White broke through some concrete walls with this story. Unfortunately it made me very uncomfortable -- not because it was LGBTQIA, but because it was a bit too explicit for me. I don't really enjoy sex scenes that are so vividly described -- straight or gay.

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  • Tom
  • 04-04-2017

Good Book, Poor Performance

Where does A Boy's Own Story rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's got probably the worst performance of all the audiobooks I've listened to.

Would you be willing to try another book from Edmund White? Why or why not?

Yes, if it has a different narrator.

Would you be willing to try another one of George Backman’s performances?

No.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Difficult to say, considering the performance was so off.

Any additional comments?

George Blackman read as if the narrator was a wheezy and overly camp kid. This is true to an extent of what Edmend White was portraying. But the story is also supposed to be funny. If you listen to Edmund White read extracts from the novel, you can see he plays it for laughs, especially some of the sex scenes. However George Blackman doesn't convey this humour. Instead from his performance everything seems to feed back into the main protagonist's insecurity and overt sensitivity. This way of reading makes the main character sound like a caricature of a young gay teen instead of the actual well-rounded character, which is what you get when you read the book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • alex
  • 17-08-2015

awful

I have no idea who George backman is but he is rubbish at reading

3 people found this helpful

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  • steve london
  • 02-10-2020

One of the best audible narrators

George Bachman's reading is so arch and camp it makes listening to the story so enjoyable. Normally with audible I alternate between the audible recordings and the actual book - but not in this case - the reading is just so good I listened to it in its entirety in sound. He seems to perfectly render the kind of "curl" of an Edmund White sentence. The readers in audible seem to vary so much - the only other reading performance of comparable level is that given by the reader of the Mark Lewisohn history of the Beatles book (sorry I cant remember the title).

George Bachman is just a fantastic reader and I totally recommend this.

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  • Hugh M. Clarke
  • 07-09-2017

More Than Meets The Eye

Written from the perspective of a developing adolescent, this is a very sharp and entertaining book. Lots of humour and a skilful use of language with an astute portrayal of masculinity. George Backman reads well, catching the uncertain tone of the key character. Deserves a wide audience.

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