THE EDUCATION OF JONATHAN BEAM by Russell Brantley

THE EDUCATION OF JONATHAN BEAM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A pleasantly written, cheerful and often funny book about a young Southern Baptist boy and his first encounter with college. Jonathan Beam is bright, open, naive; he had been raised on a small farm by his God-fearing, warm-hearted mother, with some help from a nice older brother and from the local preachers, whose minus qualities Jonathan does not yet recognize. But when Jonathan leaves for college, the preacher instructs him to spy on his college mates and report on dancing and other sins on the campus. Jonathan's first reluctant efforts in this direction get him taken before the Dean as a Peeping Tom. From then on, torn between an active, mealy-mouthed campus Baptist group, and his wise football playing roommate, Jonathan begins painfully to learn to think for himself. He rejects the Baptists, who try to force his affiliation. He learns to dance through a nice little Southern girl. And finally, not finding that dancing conveys a sense of sin, he is tormented by his conscience, gets moderately drunk and serenades the women's dorms. Ashamed, he prepares to leave college, one of the young Baptists tries to force him into repentance before a group and before his mother. But instead he makes a good, believable speech on the right to think for oneself, and returns to the college. Nicely observed, sober at heart, this is a warm and compact book, with a plus sale for young adults.

Publisher: Macmillan