The Sparkling-Eyed Boy - A...
A creative memoir reflecting on a long-ago summer love and the choices we make—“built on dreams and memories of what never happened, but could have” (USA Today). Exploring the fault lines of adult nostalgia and desire, this work of creative nonfiction—a Bakeless Prize winner—re-creates the achingly intense adolescent summer days that Amy Benson and the sparkling-eyed boy spent together on the shores of the remote St. Mary’s River of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For her, summers meant returning from her home in Detroit to a three-month idyll on much-loved family land, owned for generations, and to a heady culture of local boys. For him, this land is the place he was born, where he’ll later find work, marry, and stay. In the span of a lifetime their encounters were relatively brief, but loaded with meaning. Here, her heart-stoppingly erotic—yet wholly imagined—scenes, her imaginings of different outcomes, and her searching riffs on love as possession, love as pain, read like a friend’s deepest secrets, shared. “Full of color and light and life. This is truth of the most profound sort; truth revealed in the artful and lyrical sensibility of Benson’s words and memory . . . Benson shows us here what the memoir can and should do—destroy and resurrect itself over and over.” —Brad Land, author of Goat “The great pleasure and triumph of this memoir is Amy Benson’s ability to make the familiar new again as she explores the country of first love. Over and over I found myself surprised by the unexpected twists and turns, peaks and abysses, of her journey. And also by her lovely, fiercely intelligent prose.” —Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy “A remarkably candid disclosure of what it feels like to be young and in love for the first time. Winner of a prize for creative nonfiction from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, this is a provocative, intense read.” —Booklist