HOLDING STEADY by Stephen Schwandt


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In a novel set on the shores of Lake Michigan in eastern Wisconsin, Brendon Turner finds that accepting his father's death is tied to recognizing his own self-worth and his growing feeling of independence. Michael Turner died in an automobile accident during an ice storm; his love of risk taking and devotion to his job outweighed his better judgment. While wife Anne and younger son Ross are gradually emerging from their grief, 17-year-old Brendon blames his father and withdraws from everyone. A family vacation fails to ease Brendon's pain; even when beautiful Courtney Holmes takes an interest in him, Brendon at first finds it difficult to break out of his self-absorption. But Courtney has been coping successfully with her own divorced, recovering-alcoholic father; and she encourages Brendon to deal with his problems. They become close, especially after a narrow escape from a foolhardy sailing adventure, with tragedy averted by Courtney's courage and Brendon's sailing skills--and when the incident prompts Ross to reveal their late father's admiration for Brendon, Brendon realizes that reckless feats are not the way to prove himself. An interesting exploration of parent-child relations and the dynamics of risk-taking, with the additional appeals of Ross' dry humor and Brendon's sailing savvy.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1988
Page count: 161pp
Publisher: Henry Holt