First Love and Other Sorrows by Harold Brodkey

The fluid and descriptive nature of this story makes you feel like it were you telling it, like it was from your memory – one can almost see every event, hear every sound, feel every emotion.

It tells a story from the point of view of a 16 year old St. Louis  ‘goldbrick’ (as Mackyz, the coach, calls our narrator), and how he began the dreadful process that is growing up in spring of that year – of his being born into affluence but losing that shortly after his father dies, of first true love and of first kisses, of being sixteen and all the insecurities that come with that time, and of family.

“…more than anything else in the world I wanted to be a success when I grew up. I did not know there was any other way of being lovable.”

You can relate to at least one character in the book – be it the mother and how she never did get over the ‘downgrading’ of her status, although it does not seem like they were poor even after; or the beautiful but restless 22-year old sister and the slew of boys all trooping to win her favour; or Preston, the ‘jaded’ yet vain best friend; or Joel, the douchey pretty boy; or Eleanor, who seems to be the narrator’s first true love; or even the narrator himself.

We never find out his name, but this does not matter because he could be any one of us, he could even be you.

*Picture by Lolo


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