A gripping, bighearted novel about four merry pranksters confronting their past.

READ REVIEW

The Last Get

In Edwards’ debut novel, a quartet of bohemians encounters obstacles to their blissful life.

Four high school friends are on the cusp of graduating from Somerset School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the late 1960s. These young men—Allie Reed, Michael Moller, Joey Liptisch, and Tate Henry—aren’t run-of-the-mill seniors, however; they’re self-appointed Keepers of the Get, an ongoing process of joking subversion at the school. The Get is “a combination of comedy-based social reform and artistic expression” and a “practical joke par excellence.” To these four, the Get is “the wink at the world’s end,” and they naturally wonder if the adult world they’re facing has any use for it. Edwards heightens the implicit tension of such a transition by framing the bulk of his novel a quarter-century in the future, when Tate, Allie, and Michael are traveling back to Somerset for their first meeting in 20 years. The occasion is the retirement of their former mentor—the school’s longtime chaplain, Father David Miles—but Edwards also makes the reader aware that there's a mystery involving the fate of the fourth Get-keeper, Joey: “We’re on the edge of a cliff,” Joey had observed when they were graduating. “Our world’s caving in on us, burning to the ground.” Edwards skillfully constructs his story within a story to leave readers wondering how prophetic such sentiments were. The atmosphere in these pages is picaresque, and the prose can be florid. However, the descriptions can also be evocative: “He looked like some sort of French prince come to modern times—royalty and intelligence framed with a certain disheveled look.” The fate of Tate’s comatose father, the former mayor of Tulsa, adds a wrinkle to an already charged plot.

A gripping, bighearted novel about four merry pranksters confronting their past.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4505-4914-1

Page Count: 232

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?

more