PETER AND BETH by Doug Lalli

PETER AND BETH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Boy meets girl; boy scares off girl; boy tracks down girl five years later.

It’s the mid-1970s in New York City, and Peter Granelli is not sure what he wants. In the five years since college, he’s walked away from what seemed to be a promising career in academia and settled into a job as a junk-mail copywriter. When his boss offers to groom him for a promotion, he declines. In addition, his faltering marriage has finally collapsed. But when he spots Beth on the street, he becomes obsessed with the possibility that their one-night stand just before college graduation produced a child. Coached by his therapist, he slowly works up the courage to find her. At the same time, he is trying to reconnect with his father, who he hated for years. Despite the fact that his father never encouraged him, and is now marrying a woman who hates Peter, he vows to be a good son. When he finally goes to a concert in which Beth is playing, however, he runs away after seeing that there is not only a child greeting her, but a man as well. Having decided to close that chapter, he is surprised when Beth contacts him and tells him about their daughter. Suddenly, he’s on the brink of becoming a father and possibly rekindling a romance with the woman who could have been the love of his life. Though the frequent jumps in time interrupt the narrative, Lalli skillfully develops his protagonist, the relationship between father and son and the grown-up search for meaning and direction.

A pleasant coming-of-adulthood story.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 2006
ISBN: 1-58736-496-4
Program: Kirkus Indie
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