Mohsen’s Post-Discussion Comments about THIS BOY’S LIFE

My first assumption was that This Boy’s Life was a biography but represented as a memoir, however, after several back and forth discussions and debates with several of you, I came away with a different understanding, as Ron P. made some very valid points regarding one’s memoirs versus biography.

As I looked deeper as to why one would write one’s own memoirs or biography, yet popularize it a fiction or novel. Perhaps a marketing strategy? or understanding that emotion is a greater force, capturing an-others’ imagination.

Since most biographies are recorded history of events that require an audience with either the interest in a subject or the subject matter put forth, therefore, expert writers attempt to excite their audiences, as is mostly true with political and religious biographers, one example is the historical recordings of the prophets and their miracle events.

Then, there is another reasoning that can be considered, due to lack of interest to read an-others’ life long stories as long as the subject in question is an unknown or of interest, in other words, not many care to read my biography. Thus expert writers apply emotion into their writing so to capture the attention of their audiences. Such is the story of “Toby” a 15 years young boy dragged by his mother across America in perhaps the most crucial timeline of his adolescent life.

The other point of interest was viewing the film “This Boy’s Life” starting Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Di Niro immediately after the discussion. Did it play along with the book or the opposite, how much vital information was held back to allow Hollywood the success it required, did the young DiCaprio captivate the audience portraying Toby’s real life role, as I witnessed both approval and disapproval of the film versus the book, and I do understand that not all movies do match what is written.

The film, “Morris From America” (shown at the Grand Cinemas) had also similar story-lines to “This Boy’s Life” where a father who just lost his wife to mortality takes his 13 years old son to another country, another continent , without rectifying the consequences placed on his adolescent son, attempting to bring some peace to his own life, subjugating his son to difficulties beyond a young adolescent abilities as well as racial discrimination.

In both cases, each parent had similar reasoning for their actions, both Toby’s mother and Morris’s father’s first attempt was to free themselves from their own miseries, using their children as support to justify their actions. As neither Toby or Morris were an abused child beforehand.

Biographies can make the infamous famous whether positive or negative, an example is Van Gogh, whose work was mostly unknown until long after his death, or even “Ansel Adam” which both became popular public figures, and hardly anyone knows about their true real life dramas.

Or Abraham Lincoln, where most of his biographies focus on his good deeds, yet hardly any attention is given to his misfortunes, and the opposite is portrayed of Richard Nixon, who surly like Abraham Lincoln must have done some good as a public servant, yet, he is forever known for his misfortunes of the Watergate scandals.

Yes, in my unedited earlier commentary I had also quoted Abraham Lincoln an
“slave advocator”, without any degrading intent or challenging all the good that he
may have done at one of the most crucial era in the American history, however, it is
the viewpoint of my commentary examples, that biographies are written for the
acceptance of approval or disapproval of what we read.

And finally, I do realize that my comments energized our post discussions from “Toby” and a boy’s life long memoirs to unexpected arenas, however, once again let me reiterate that after several debate and discussions with R.P., N.B. and V.P., I made clear that there was no malice intended to degrade anyone’s perspective of Abraham Lincoln or give false premise supporting good old Dick.

Simply put, my sole purpose was to explain that biographies help us with our perspectives and can even make the infamous famous, regardless of one’s omen.


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