I am no longer a Tobias Wolff virgin. I thoroughly enjoy my first Wolff book until the 2nd to last chapter. The book was engrossing with his literature references, writer cameos and especially the protagonist's story of his final year at an all boys private school.
Emotions galore about in this book. You laugh at his descriptions of this peers, cry when you realize he must leave the school even before he knows he is leaving. Hasn't everyone thought of adding their name to something so wonderful that it feels s if it is yours?
As you read Old School you feel the characters jumping out of the book and into your own life. Who has never had a Big Jeff in their school or a Bill White? I know I did. Which is what makes this book so good, and yet disappointing at the same time. That 2nd to last chapter of the protagonist's story seemed rushed and completely different than the rest of the book as if Wolff just didn't know how to tie it all up. Such a let down.
The final Chapter - Master, the story of the Dean and I wished that it had been somehow woven into the meeting with Mr. Ramsey so as not to have it thrown in as if it was an after thought.
I would have loved to give this book a rating of 5 stars except for those last 2 chapters. The storyline in those last chapters were great, but seemed even to be writing as if by someone else instead of Wolff and maybe that is because it is in the protagonist's older voice. It just didn't sit well with me... Sadly, as I adore the rest of the book.
Four Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️