My Mentor: A Young Man's Friendship with William Maxwell

My Mentor: A Young Man's Friendship with William Maxwell



The Pequod Review:

Alec Wilkinson's My Mentor is a warm and sympathetic tribute to the novelist William Maxwell, a friend and neighbor of Wilkinson's father who would become a key mentor in his life. Maxwell is portrayed in a loving manner, with a Fred Rogers-like equanimity:

I grew up with an awareness of Maxwell, his kindness, his eyes which were expressive of emotion and calm and love, the figure he cut, polished and unhurried and attractive. When he asked me a question he was interested in the answer and wasn't made impatient by the repetitions and false starts children specialize in...

When you looked into his eyes you felt you were looking into the eyes of someone who understood and accepted you. And didn't require from you something more than you could provide. Or that you be anyone but yourself. Unlike my father's, his attention was not restless. His acceptance made you feel valued. His friends often felt that no matter what they did, he was unlikely to view their behavior judgmentally.

Fans of Wiliam Maxwell will probably enjoy this book a great deal.