A charming, humorous, and colorful coming of age memoir
Bay Boy is a collection of essays by award-winning young adult author Watt Key that chronicles his boyhood in Point Clear, Alabama. During his childhood, Point Clear was not the tony enclave of today with its spas, art galleries, and multi-million-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 writes 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.” And so Key filled his hours collecting driftwood to make forts, scooting around the bay in a sturdy Stauter-Built boat, and doing art and writing stories when it rained.
There is no literary artifice in these pages. The tone here is simple and direct, punctuated by laugh-out-loud moments. Key writes about Gulf Coast traditions including Mardi Gras, shrimping, fishing, dove hunting, hurricanes, jubilees, and camping out. 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 younger brother Murray Key.