My experience with coming of age books has been rather mixed. I disliked A Catcher in the Rye and especially Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I borrowed this book from my parents because years ago I enjoyed another Vestdijk book a great deal. And indeed, Vestdijk managed to write a book about a 15 year boy that is touching, funny, and interesting.
The book is written in a first person perspective from Anton’s point of view. His adolescent mood swings and intellectual developments are particularly visible in the relationship with the mother, who, to the reader, seems like a decent and loving mother but is at times loathed by the main character — and then loved again.
The book is beautifully written, a true pleasure to read.
I had a vague notion of “the Anton Wagner books” on my mind while reading this, and when I googled it I learned that there are seven other books around this main character. Very interesting.
Terug tot Ina Damman by Simon Vestdijk. ISBN: 9001547907.
I read this book in Dutch.