Little Boy by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Hardcover – Doubleday – Mar 2019 – 179 pages
In this unapologetically unclassifiable work Lawrence Ferlinghetti lets loose an exhilarating rush of language to craft what might be termed a closing statement about his highly significant and productive 99 years on this planet. The “Little Boy” of the title is Ferlinghetti himself as a child, shuffled from his overburdened mother to his French aunt to foster childhood with a rich Bronxville family. Service in World War Two (including the D-Day landing), graduate work, and a scholar gypsy’s vagabond life in Paris followed. These biographical reminiscences are interweaved with Allen Ginsberg-esque high energy bursts of raw emotion, rumination, reflection, reminiscence and prognostication on what we may face as a species on Planet Earth in the future. Little Boy is a magical font of literary lore with allusions galore, a final repository of hard-earned and durable wisdom, a compositional high wire act without a net (or all that much punctuation) and just a gas and an inspiration to read.