BUDDY BOY by Brian Thompson


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An attractive but restrained round of British teenage fumblings and wartime exigencies centering on Barry Bowen, a tentative boarding-school bystander moved to the fore by circumstance and a typically vulnerable sensibility. Anti-Americanism pervades WW II Cambridge, thoughts of sex and headmaster-revenge absorb the students (a well-done lot), and plans for sex or survival preoccupy the teachers and airmen--except for Lt. Rickerts, devastated by a friend's death in a B. 17 crash. That friend's fiancÉe was Head Girl at the school and a special friend of Barry, who's now teased by bullying friends and then sexually consoled by admiring Avril. He's also puzzling over the assorted inadequacies of the adults around him: me-first parents, outcast teachers, a monster headmaster, and the headmaster's daughter, a trapped woman who secretly sees the American lieutenant. That is, until he escalates his search for an exit from the war. The several relationships overlap easily, but occasionally summary remarks intrude and diminish the tension. Too bad the title's such a dud--the story's somewhat tonier.

Pub Date: March 29th, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's