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Published in 1998 the boys of my youth received much acclaim and elevated jo ann beards reputation in the memoiressay genre her most well known essay the fourth state of matter first published in the new yorker in 1996 offers an incisive look into tragedy grief and the gift and curse of time in relation to oneself and ones relationshipsupon completion of this book you will find yourself thanking jo ann beard for taking you back to that magical place in time the boys of my youth is worth reading and re reading and sharing with your best friendsrarely does the debut of a new writer garner such attention and acclaim the excitement began the moment the fourth state of matter one of the fourteen extraordinary personal narratives in this book appeared in the pages of the new yorker it increased when the author received a prestigious whiting foundation award in november 1997 and it continued as the hardcover edition of the boys of my what marks the boys of my youth as an exchange between reader and author is the way that beards ability to evoke the textures of her scenes works on you to unlock your own memories here she is writing about a night when she and her sister have been left home by themselves my book has me terrified the boys of my youth also contains an account of one truly extraordinary experience the mass murder by a lone gunman of six people at the university of iowa where the author worked beard who knew the killer a disgruntled student and counted a close friend among his victims happened to leave early on the day of the rampage

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