Robert Hunt says that writing his latest book Corner Boys (Flanker Press / 162pp / $17.95) was a labour of love.
“It is all about the turbulent, but wonderful times we had growing up here in the 50's and 60's,” explains the St. John’s scribe via email. “Corner Boys is a coming-of-age story of two young boys from the age of six through to their teenage years. It is very much a portrait of both myself, and of those times.”
The process of piecing the past together was not without its challenges.
“Recalling all the events of the past 55 years wasn’t easy,” admits the author. “But by the first month I already had written about forty parts of my life, and when I was finished I had over one hundred.”
He says that the experience was both educational and therapeutic.
“I learned a great deal about who I am and where I came from. One should never forget their heritage or their past. Looking back, I now realize that life was not as bad as it sometimes seemed to be at the time.”
Hunt acknowledges that his hometown is a very different place today, especially for the area’s younger people.
“Growing up in St. John's in those years we had a great respect for authority. The police, the Irish Christian Brothers, the priests and our parents were people whom we were taught to both fear and revere. That seems to be a thing of the past now.”
Technology has also changed the landscape.
“Teenagers have a chance to do what they want in today's world,” says the scribe. “They have every advantage that we could only dream about as young men.”
There are disadvantages to that progress also.
“Sure, they are more mentally active,” he concedes. “Physically, however, they are not. Many of them are missing out on the simple things in life that we enjoyed in our early years, like fresh air.”
So far, response to the new work has been extremely positive.
“Many people have read it and have written to share their own personal Corner Boy experience from that time,” shares Hunt.
“There will be a sequel and I am in the process of writing it now. All I can say at this moment is that it is about the abuse of the times when we were naive and brainwashed by the authority of the era.”