ASK ME NOW by Al Young


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San Francisco's Durwood Knight has just retired at 39 from semi-stardom in pro basketball. . . and he's not having a very good time. Full-time home life--with tart-tongued wife Dixie, daughters Celia (teen) and Nissa (pre-teen), plus visiting son-by-a-previous-marriage Leon (a successful pop musician)--is more nerve-wracking than restful. Plans for opening a record store with crude pal Brewster Day are less than enthralling. Little things--like his car being stolen or the groceries being spilled--are big pains. Even a visit to adoring crippled kids in the hospital can't quite restore Durwood's crumpled ego. And then comes a little crisis--Nissa gets a washer stuck on her finger, and it has to be sawed off--followed by a big one: Celia disappears when the family goes to an outdoor fair. Some quasi-thriller action follows, with a bit of derring-do for Durwood; but Celia's safe recovery reveals a disturbing truth: she was a willing, conspiring kidnapee, and things only got ugly when her chums turned out to be heavily into cocaine (stashed in Durwood's car). Clearly, Durwood has to reassess his relationship with his family (he dreams of being ""Superdad""), along with everything else in his new life. Young (Sitting Pretty) is an amusing, smartplain writer--the dialogue here is fine, the life-size details just right--but he can't draw either real drama or real depth from these loose, leisurely scenes of Durwood's life from Thanksgiving to Christmas. And even a cameo appearance by Wilt Chamberlain doesn't make this much of a treat for basketball fans. All in all: too bland and meandering to command attention, too likable to ignore completely.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1980
Publisher: McGraw-Hill