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Little Boy Reviews

Little Boy by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Little Boy

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 4 Apr 2019
ISBN: 9780571351022

Grown Boy came into his own voice and let loose his word-horde pent-up within him. From growing up as an orphan in 1920s New York, to serving in the Navy at the D-Day landings in Normandy, to a vagabond life drinking in Parisian cafes, to befriending America's greatest counter-cultural writers, Little Boy has seen it all.

4 stars out of 5
Ian Sansom
11 Apr 2019

"In this novel-cum-memoir-cum-grand finale, the centenarian US author and friend of the beats takes a wild journey through his lifetime in literature"

Having seen the best minds of his generation destroyed by mental illness, drink and drugs, and generally defeated by life, Ferlinghetti clearly feels at liberty to say whatever he wants, about whoever he wants, however he wants, and in whatever order he wants... The most affecting parts of Little Boy are in fact those that most closely resemble a traditional memoir or autobiography, because Ferlinghetti’s life, even simply told, is utterly extraordinary... Centenarian authors are certainly few and far between, but Ferlinghetti has been surprising himself and defying others for years: there may yet be more to come.


2 stars out of 5
23 Mar 2019

"the novel is full of excruciating puns, name-dropping and a dated reliance on Freud"

Little Boy (the release of which has been timed to coincide with Ferlinghetti’s 100th birthday on 24 March — at time of writing he is still alive), is an experimental novel ‘with no plot’ and memoir of a life ‘whose plot is only discovered after it is lived’. Not a promising start. If it weren’t quite so un-hip, one might call it auto-fiction. The intention appears to be a whistle-stop tour of the century he’s lived, ending in our current age of ‘steel and smog and plastic’. No news there, except historical backdrop is largely absent, and the narration flips between the first and third pronoun — he is Little Boy, Little Boy is ‘me me me’. A few pages in, full stops are completely renounced, which made reading it a rather breathless experience, but also deeply boring.