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Bay Boy: Stories of a Childhood in Pt. Clear, Watt Key
Bay Boy is a collection of essays by award-winning young adult author Watt Key, chronicling his boyhood in Point Clear, Alabama. During his childhood, Point Clear was not the tony enclave of today with its spas, art galleries, and multimillion dollar waterfront properties. Rather, it was a sleepy resort community, practically deserted in the winter, with a considerable population of working-class residents. As Key notes in his introduction, “Life in Point Clear is really about being outside. . . . I have never found a place so perfectly suited to exercise a young boy’s imagination.” Key and his brother filled their days collecting driftwood to make forts, scooting around the bay in a sturdy Stauter boat, and making art and writing stories when it rained. In a tone that is simple and direct, punctuated by truly hilarious moments. Key writes about Gulf Coast traditions including Mardi Gras, shrimping, fishing, dove hunting, jubilees, camping out, and bracing for hurricanes. These stories are full of colorful characters— Nasty Bill Dickson, a curmudgeonly tow-truck driver; I’llNeeda, a middle-aged homeless woman encamped in a shack across the road; and the Ghost of Zundel’s Wharf, “the restless soul of a long-dead construction worker.” The stories are illustrated by charming and evocative artwork by the author’s brother Murray Key.