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BLUE STAR RAPTURE by James W. Bennett


by James W. Bennett

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-689-81580-8
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A week of basketball camp sparks deep changes in a high-school junior’s outlook, but readers may wonder why, so sparely written and roughly constructed is this story from Bennett (The Squared Circle, 1995, etc.). T.J. isn’t looking too hard at just who’s paying for him and his 6’ 9” friend, Tyron, to attend camp; after all, a coach from North State has already made overtures, in direct violation of NCAA rules. Believing that Tyron is a hot enough prospect that colleges might overlook his severe learning disability, T.J. devotes himself to keeping his friend away from the “street agents” and their freebies. Then, sneaking out for a smoke, T.J. meets LuAnn, a pregnant young woman from the Christian camp nearby; something in her talk of blindly trusting God’s will draws him to a sermon by her preacher, Sister Simone. Tragedy follows hard on triumph; during a camp championship game, T.J. finds the inner fire he had lacked, then learns that LuAnn is dead, a suicide who had been suffering from depression, encouraged to substitute faith for medication. Bennett awkwardly tucks a few expletives into the dialogue, patly introduces a character to fill T.J. in on clinical depression, finally drops Tyron (who, from an author known for his sensitive portrayals of mentally and emotionally disturbed characters, comes off as a buffoon) completely, and draws only a tenuous connection between LuAnn’s story and T.J.’s. He also leaves plotlines unresolved, neglects to develop a clear climax, and is skimpy with sports action. (Fiction. 12-15)