Based on Peter S. Hawkins' Review An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard, is a happy memoir of Annie's own life, a child of a well-to-do Pittsburgh family. Dillard remembers much of her childhood and doesn't hesitate to tell us a bit of it. Author Flannery O'Conner once said, "any novelist who could survive her childhood had enough to write about for a lifetime." This was most certainly the case for Dillard. A person's childhood is something that cannot be forgotten.
From grandparents telling their grandchildren about when they were their age, to criminals pleading that their childhood caused them to become evil, our first years are our most important. Annie Dillard certainly remembered her childhood. It is clear that what Dillard tells us about her life is true. It is easy to classify Dillard as an avid reader as she constantly mentions all her books.
"As a child I read hoping to learn everything, so I could be like my father," Dillard said on page 214. An American Childhood is extremely interesting and entertaining. Having taken place in modern times, Dillard was born in 1945 and the story begins when she is five, it is something we can all follow and appreciate as Dillard climbs her way through childhood. We, the readers, watch as Annie emerges from a typical five year old to the crazy, intelligent, independent young woman she becomes. Each year is a footstep with new adventures and new philosophies of the world around her. It is hard not to laugh as Annie does such crazy acts as quitting church at age 16 and writing her minister a fierce letter.
An American Childhood is not a book for a person without an imagination. As a reader you must be willing to interpret what Dillard says and fit into you own life and your own childhood. We can all relate to her feelings and frustrations, and like Holden Caulfield in Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Annie Dillard lets the reader know how she feels about everything and everyone, no matter how that may be. An American Childhood is a great book that is guaranteed to entertain even the pickiest of readers. It is amazing how through her writing and her own memories, Annie Dillard can bring back so many childhood memories of our own..