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Bobby and the A-bomb Factory is the personal account of a child’s early years in 50’s and early 60’s america. A sober style, at ease with short-cuts and edifying contrasts, is not the least of this little opus’ qualities.
In particular, Myers’ parti-pris of contextualising his story by colliding two among america’s most foundational adventures, namely the development of a nuclear force that can destroy humanity and the eradication of Indian nations, works very well. These historical events of momentous proportions serve as bitter yet enlightening backdrop to some key moments in the history of the Myers familly, living through their middle-class life, framed by suburbia and mormonism. There is neither happiness nor sadness there, but small reflections on religion, dealing with psychological and social wastelands, and the difficulties for a child to find a meanignful place in his environment.
By small touches, with a real talent for segueing into edifying historical anecdotes that provide a je ne sais quoi of extra meaning, of relatedness, to this little story of a rather disturbed yet gifted child, Myers manages to universalise his story. We’re involved, not so much because we identify with this slightly weird kid in this dull environment (though some will), but precisely because we realise how the meaning that most of us like to give to our lives can also derive contemplatively a posteriori from situating ourselves in a context, a history, of our chosing.
It’s an unpretentious and atlernatively lively, contemplative, educative and enlightening fast read.