What’s to Become of the Boy?

Or, Something to Do with Books

Publisher: Melville House
A vivid account of growing up poor, rebellious, and anti-Fascist in Nazi Germany

What’s to Become of the Boy? is a spirited, insightful, and wonderfully sympathetic memoir about life during wartime written with the characteristic brilliance by one of the 20th-century’s most celebrated authors. It is both an essential autobiography of the Nobel Prizewinning author and a compelling memoir of being young and idealistic during an age of hardship and war.


“Böll’s writing is filled with a bleak beauty that unflinchingly gazes upon the sources of both the bleakness and the beauty of life …” —The Rumpus

What’s to Become of the Boy? makes an ideal short introduction to Böll. At the same time, it offers an unusual perspective on Hitler’s rise to power: The rise of totalitarianism and the stultification of civil society, as seen through the eyes of a teenage boy.” —Anne Applebaum (from the new introduction)

"[P]ared down prose, lean but sturdy, subtle yet unsettling, always with the power to provoke and to devastate." 
—The Quarterly Conversation