The sad, tender, and extremely funny memoir of a boyhood few thought he would survive, including the unforgettable mother and hilarious grandmother who raised him
A book to be relished by lovers of such works as The Glass Castle, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, and Angela’s Ashes
Everything readers love about consummate storyteller and beloved bestselling novelist Wayne Johnston’s work is on full display in Jennie’s Boy: incredible characters, brilliant language, and a deep sense of place.
Wayne’s family occupied a wreck of a house in Goulds, Newfoundland. Sickly and skinny, a relentless cough that no doctor could diagnose led to Wayne spending much of his time being moved from room to room or across the road to his grandparents’ house. He was diagnosed with a heart murmur, pleurisy, and a possible tapeworm.
The community knew him as “Jennie’s boy,” and his tiny, ferocious mother felt judged for Wayne’s condition, not to mention her husband’s propensity to “drink the rent.” While his brothers went off to school, and his parents to work, Wayne passed his days with his witty, deeply religious and eccentric maternal grandmother, Lucy, who kept a statue of the Blessed Virgin along with a photo of her son Leonard, who had died at seven.
Jennie’s Boy recalls a boyhood full of pain, laughter, tenderness, and the kind of wit that is peculiar to Newfoundlanders. By that wit, and by their love for each other — so often expressed in the most unloving ways — he, and they, survived.