ABBOTT AND AVERY by Robert W. Shaw


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Despite the sitcom-ish title, a first novel about a grandfather bonding with his first grandchild that is heartwarming and resolutely un-cute. Abbott is Wesley Abbott, a grizzled New England newspaper reporter whose wife Claire has left him to discover herself through arts and crafts and whose daughter, Heath, has given birth, out of wedlock, to Avery, a squalling grandson it becomes Abbott's business to take care of--while Heath is finishing college and the child's father is off taking a hike up the Appalachian Trail. While everyone else is out discovering themselves, Abbott discovers a great deal of joy in Avery: he gets down with the child and takes a baby's-eye view of the world, and it changes his mind about a lot of things. His boss at the newspaper wants him to write some treacly columns about being a grandpa, but Abbott refuses, nearly getting himself fired--Avery is simply too real and wonderful to cheapen and sentimentalize in print. In fact, Avery begins to reject Heath on her visits, preferring Abbott, and Heath is startled into actually living with Avery's father (Lew, back from the Trail). Then Abbott discovers he cannot give up Avery and even runs away with him briefly, before returning and weaning himself from the child, sadder but wiser. All in all: a warm, funny book about aging and about passing the generational torch--without resorting to literary baby-talk.

Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 1987
Publisher: Viking