CHEEVEY by Gerald DiPego


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Heavy family angst from screenwriter DiPego (Keeper of the City, 1997), who manages to pack his latest tale with enough madness, sex, submerged resentment, and secret fears to stock several soap operas for a full season. Narrator Claude Cheever--Cheevey to us and everyone else--is right on the cusp of 20: still living with Mom and Dad, working nights at Dad's television store, looking for a girlfriend, and eager to grow up. ""I'm turning twenty in two weeks. It's a difficult maneuver . . . so much more is expected of a twenty-year old."" Like most teenagers, Cheevey sees life as an endless procession of days in which nothing ever happens, but soon enough the wind changes with a vengeance and nearly blows the house down. Out of nowhere, Cheevey's mother announces that she's divorcing his father and moving to France--next week. His sister Mari's delusions are developing into full-fledged schizophrenia, though Cheevey's anal brother-in-law Bob refuses to take note. And Mari's friend Dash seems to want to seduce Cheevey but can't get her act together, so Cheevey seduces the considerably older Lauren (girlfriend of his of big brother Phil) instead. Throughout all of this, no one except Cheevey and Marl seems aware of what's going on, much less willing to talk about it: Cheevey is unable to convince his own brother to come to his birthday party, and his father can't even be bothered to call Marl to tell her about the divorce. As usual, a tragic and senseless death is the only thing that suffices to shake everyone out of their slumber, but here the death serves more as a convenient close of events rather than any indication of some new beginning. The Montagues and Capulets might have learned from their mistakes, but the Cheevers seem simply sad. Quickly tedious and finally shallow.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0316185493
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: "Little, Brown"