BOYS WILL BE BOYS: A Daughter's Elegy

Sara Suleri Goodyear, Author . Univ. of Chicago $22 (121p) ISBN 978-0-226-30401-4

Goodyear, a Yale English professor, wrote Meatless Days in tribute to her mother; Boys Will Be Boys , a title her father had wanted to use for his own autobiography, is intended as an elegy to her dad. In these 15 brief chapters, readers will discover little about this man nicknamed "Pip" (for "patriotic and preposterous") other than tidbits about his irascible nature. Indeed, there's little thematic coherence in this narrative; one thought simply leads to another. Goodyear's rather posturing prose style doesn't help. Her sister has "quite insequentially" put curlers in her hair. Her father, a founder of the Times of Karachi and the Evening Times , "tended the chide us before we should be chidden" and "had much love inside him, in some extraneous fashion." When her father fidgets at hearing her poems, she comments, "Perhaps there was another martial law in the offering, which is, on a civic level, yet a variant on the mode of translation." Readers expecting cultural sensitivity from this Pakistani-born academic may find some of her language off-putting—referring to one of her students as "of Japanese extraction"—as is her attitude toward the student herself. Goodyear does write about the family pets, favorite childhood foods, the step-sister she hated, her memories of Lahore, how she met her husband, her weariness with academic conferences, the wiles of assorted relatives and even her feelings about Pakistani Tampax. Any or all of these topics might have been interesting, if only she had found a way to let the reader care about them. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
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