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This novel's virtues are not easy to describe. Beautifully written, it revolves principally around the events in the life of a 19 year old boy coming of age one summer in the early 1950's in the exurbs of Chicago. As if told many years later, his memories of this period focus on the people around him: his changing parents, his peers leaving high school to the world beyond, the journalists at his summer job, the jazz musicians he becomes acquainted with, the girl he falls in love with briefly, and the mysterious events surrounding a tragedy in her family. This story builds slowly, although it is never lacking in interest. (Life is full of events with no huge import.) When circumstances change and when tragedy strikes, the loss is quite palpable, without being the least bit maudlin. The narration was excellent.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
Really disliked this book and strongly advise you to listen to the sample before purchasing.
I wanted a book based in chicago as I was heading there on a trip and wanted to get some historical background and a sense of the place. This book is based in the Chicago area and that's about the only good thing about it. It feels like a very poor mans attempted copy of Catcher in the Rye, though here there is very little to redeem the main character or any of his actions. The other characters are unbelievable and frankly irritating. The story is thin and actually dull.
It may be an accent issue, not one I usually have, but I really disliked the narrators voice and pronunciation of many words. Unfortunately the book appeared to have a small vocabulary meaning these badly pronounced words seemed to be repeated endlessly.
I battled to the end hoping it would improve, it really does not, at all.
Please try before you buy.