HIGHLIGHTS OF THE OFF-SEASON by Peter J. Smith

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE OFF-SEASON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

To tell an entire novel through the depressed, relentlessly self-involved voice of a bored and boring teen-ager takes guts--and a certain disregard for the reader. This first novel does just that, and though the writer has talent with words and some insights into American tackiness, adolescent angst and general human inadequacy, he locks the reader in a claustrophobic universe that may find him pounding on the walls to get out. The protagonist, who tells his own story with a practiced eye for uninteresting details, is Sam Grace, prep-school expellee with a rich father, dead mother, and a sister who plays ""an outspoken nun detective on TV."" His milieu of New York money, with a hint of show business, was also Holden Caulfield's, but any resemblance between Sam and the hero of Catcher In The Rye is strictly parodistic. Sam wanders from a progressive school in Los Angeles, where he seriously hurts a fellow student out of envy, to his sister's Malibu beach house, to his father's Fifth Avenue apartment in New York, to Cape Cod out of season. Everywhere he heaps scorn on people's errors of dress, deportment, taste in music, anything. All this, the author hints, may serve to protect Sam from his own self-loathing, but compassion for this soured youth is hard to come by. At the end of the novel, Sam is not an inch forward in becoming a human being. So what were his wanderings all about? It hardly seems worth the trip to see the world as his nightmare has it, or for the very occasional flashes of wit that coat the pill.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1986
Publisher: Simon & Schuster