John Banville at The Nation:
Any account of childhood written by an adult might quickly become a work of adult art, presenting the child’s world, its highlights and its shadows, with a sensibility foreign to the experiences of being young. With his intensely concentrated gaze and voluptuous yet exact prose style, however, Wollheim offers us a work of vivid immediacy. Reading it, one experiences the kind of embarrassment that the critic Christopher Ricks identified in Keats’s poetry: Brought this close up to what it feels like to be a child, or for that matter an adult, Wollheim helps us see with awful clarity what an emotional and moral predicament it is to be alive.
Afitting epigraph to Germs could be Philip Larkin’s stark yet somehow comic line “Life is first boredom, then fear.”