Sunday, March 25, 2007

All Souls

I don't know where I was in 1999, when All Souls came out, or in 2000, when it won an American Book Award. Actually, I do know where I was. I was in No Longer Red State, I was distracted by my personal life, and I wasn't reading a lot. So somehow I missed All Souls, never even heard of it until last fall when Easter Rising, Michael Patrick Macdonald's second book, came out. A friend loaned that one to S, and then I got him a copy of All Souls, and I even started it, but I put it down, part of my general difficulty in committing to books these days.

Well, I finally picked it up again and tore through it and I must concur with the superlative blurbs: All Souls: A Family Story from Southie, the story of Macdonald's family and South Boston in the 70s and 80s, is just an incredible book. In prose that burns with passion, even as it is beyond matter of fact, Macdonald transforms my understanding of something I lived and thought I knew. This book matters more than any book I've read in a long time.

You know, I want to go on and on here, about class and race and liberals, about the Tall Ships in 1976 and doing The Freak, about cocaine and busing and Whitey Bulger and gentrification, about how much everything has changed since the 80s, about the way the best books feel like they are speaking directly to you and to you alone, about survival and making a difference, but, really, I just want to say that this is a book that anyone who cares about any of those things must read.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

adding it to my list...

you know, even out in the way out burbs we knew who Whitey Bulger was...

The Freak. Oh my. I need some more quarters for my wayback machine.

thanks for the recommendation!