- Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
- Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 09-24-09
- Language: English
- Publisher: Recorded Books
Regular price: $31.49
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This book may be about Spooner's life growing up first in the Midwest and later settling on the east coast, but you'd be forgiven for thinking it's more about Calmer Ottosson, Spooner's steady handed stepfather. Calmer is a presence throughout the novel, even in the large patches where he's missing from the action. He's an ex-Navy guy with a cool head and a knack for soft, but firm leadership as a father who raises Warren from the time he's four years old. Always there for the son who stands too close to the fire, gets in trouble with stinging ants, and then later in life as Spooner is laid up in a hospital after a severe physical beating, Calmer is the definition of, well, calm. While never spoken out loud, there's a special relationship between Spooner and his stepfather that extends past family and veers into an almost spiritual kinship. For two distinctly different characters, this is as much a surprise to them as it is to the listener. But Pete Dexter sells this story slowly and almost imperceptibly. After some unfortunate setbacks late in his life, Calmer moves in with his stepson. The father becomes the son, and the son becomes the father. So while you're not shocked that Spooner realizes, despite a life of striking out on his own, that he "craved the good opinion of his stepfather more than he could ever admit, and felt the chance to find out where he stood with him slipping away", you're still touched by this revelation. Spooner is never ham-fisted or foisted upon the reader rather it is a subtle and emotionally heartfelt story drawn out over great lengths and with great results. Josh Ravitz
This is the story of the lifelong tie between the two men, poles apart, of Spooner's troubled childhood, troubled adolescence, violent and troubled adulthood, and Calmer Ottosson's inexhaustible patience, undertaking a life-long struggle to salvage his step-son, a man he will never understand.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sue on 01-14-10
I really enjoyed the character & story development in this novel. Some of the characters were unusual, but their trials and tribulations were interesting and they had emotional depth. Tom Stechschulte's narration was fantastic. His timing and varied voices for the various characters was perfect for both the serious and the humorous scenes. He made the book come alive.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Book Group Leader on 02-18-11
Hilarious and touching
I had read a review of this book and went looking for it. It was a touching, gentle story of family and relationships that span years. The characters are endearing and you find yourself rooting for them every step of the way. Pete Dexter manages to weave humor and irony throughout the various stories that make up this book. I found myself laughing out loud as I walked my dog, drove my car, and just enjoyed being told this tale. Excellent narration, totally absorbing.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful