The Sparkling-Eyed Boy by Amy Benson
A Memoir of Love, Grown Up

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"The Sparkling-Eyed Boy is so full of color and light and life." -- Brad Land, author of Goat

The theme of summer love, in Amy Benson's hands, grows up: The Sparkling-Eyed Boy searches out the fault lines of adult nostalgia and desire. The achingly intense adolescent summer days that Amy Benson and the sparkling-eyed boy spend together on the remote shores of the St. Mary's River of Michigan's Upper Peninsula are at the complex emotional center of The Sparkling-Eyed Boy. For her, summers meant returning from her home in Detroit to a three-month idyll on much-loved family land, owned for generations, and to a heady culture of teasing, testing local boys. For him, this land is the place he was born, where he'll later find work, marry, and stay: and she was the one he had loved.
"Can you pinpoint that moment? When you made a choice before you even knew that choosing was possible, or the terrifying nature of choices?" The Sparkling-Eyed Boy, with its heart-stoppingly erotic -- and yet wholly imagined -- scenes of illicit love, its searching riffs on love as possession, love as pain, reads like a friend's deepest secrets, shared.

“The Sparkling-Eyed Boy is so full of color and light and life. This is truth of the most profound sort; truth revealed in the artful and lyrical sensibility of Benson’s words and memory. She is dancing with us: not leading, but simply asking us to watch her move and take what we will. Benson shows us here what the memoir can and should do — destroy and resurrect itself over and over. Benson is doing exactly that.” — Brad Land, author of Goat

“The great pleasure and triumph of this memoir is Amy Benson’s ability to make the familiar new again as she explores the country of first love. Over and over I found myself surprised by the unexpected twists and turns, peaks and abysses, of her journey. And also by her lovely, fiercely intelligent prose.” — Margot Livesey, author of Criminals

About Amy Benson

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Amy Benson lives with her husband in New York City. The Sparkling-Eyed Boy, her first book, was selected by Ted Conover as the 2003 winner of the Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction.
Published May 12, 2004 by Mariner Books. 195 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Debut author Benson’s family had a summer cabin on the shore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a place of magical delight where every moment and sensation was treasured.

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Publishers Weekly

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Benson admits she's right, that she's pining because "it feels good to feel bad sometimes.

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