by Kirk Curnutt ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2015
The comedy occasionally runs broad and bawdy and the references feel a bit forced (a disastrous Liz Phair concert; an...
This comic novel traces the misadventures of a single dad and his teenage daughter as they navigate adolescent and middle-aged angst to the soundtrack of Alabama punk rock.
Vance Seagrove prides himself on being the cool dad. He's raised Chloe since her mother, Deb, moved to New York to act, finishing his Ph.D. in theater with Chloe in a baby swing. For the past 10 years, he's worked as personal assistant to Storm Willoughby, the richest man in town, and now, at his death, Storm has willed Vance a controlling stake in Macon Place, Storm's mansion, the grounds of which are a garden of Greco-Roman statuary. Storm's son, Mike, wants the place sold, but Vance wants to turn it into an arts center. If that isn't enough to worry about, Vance finds a used condom wrapper in Chloe's bedroom and becomes obsessed with reining in his 16-year-old daughter, relinquishing his "cool dad" title. Like so many protagonists, Vance confides in his gay best friend, Campbell, though she has problems of her own: she has to convince her ex-husband she's not a lesbian so he doesn't demand custody of their son. Campbell's father, Luther, is a renowned music producer now making a record for Sadie, Vance's heavily tattooed, pot-smoking 23-year-old girlfriend (see, he is cool!). Chloe is furious her father has become so unreasonable, though she tries to ignore him and get on with her teenage life: writing songs, starting a support website for a persecuted Balkans band (akin to Pussy Riot), and figuring out her relationship with Deb, who has decided to move back to Alabama and share custody with Vance.The comedy occasionally runs broad and bawdy and the references feel a bit forced (a disastrous Liz Phair concert; an extended conversation about Andrea Dworkin's Intercourse), but Curnutt throws in enough fragile humanity to make Vance and Chloe's mutual journey to adulthood worthwhile.
Pub Date: July 28, 2015
Page Count: 432
Publisher: River City Publishing
Review Posted Online: April 28, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015
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by J.D. Salinger ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 15, 1951
A strict report, worthy of sympathy.
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
Page Count: -
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951
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by Stephen King ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 1, 2008
Edgar’s own story in the present is more compelling than the revelations of the key’s past, and the novel might have been...
The prolific master of psycho-horror returns to the mysteries of the creative process, a subject that has inspired some of his most haunting work.
This could be considered a companion piece to The Shining, offering plenty of reversals on that plot. In both cases, isolation has severe effects on the psyche of an artist, yet where the former novel found its protagonist in a lethal state of writer’s block, the latter sees a one-time building magnate transformed into an impossibly prolific and powerful painter, due to circumstances beyond his control. And where the isolation in the former had a family cut off from society by a frigid northern winter, the setting of the latter is a mysterious Florida key, lush and tropical in its overgrowth, somehow immune to commercial development. A self-made millionaire, Edgar Freemantle narrates the novel in a conversational, matter-of-fact tone. He explains how a job-site accident cost him his arm, his sanity (during the early part of an extended recuperation) and his wife (whom he had physically threatened after the accident transformed him into something other than himself). What he gained was a seemingly inexplicable command as a visual artist, particularly after his recuperation (from both his accident and his marriage) takes him to the isolated Duma Key, where the only other inhabitants are an elderly, wealthy woman and her caretaker. It seems that all three have suffered severe traumas that bond them and that perhaps have even drawn them together. Soon Edgar discovers that his art has given him the power not only to predict the future, but to transform it. He ultimately pays a steep price for his artistic gifts, particularly as his investigation of the mysteries of Duma Key lead him to discover the tragic origins of his artistic vision.Edgar’s own story in the present is more compelling than the revelations of the key’s past, and the novel might have been twice as powerful if it had been cut by a third, but King fans will find it engrossing.
Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2008
Page Count: 624
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2007
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