A SONG FOR THE ASKING

A Los Angeles police detective brings his tough-guy attitude home—with tragic results—in an overly dramatic debut novel by Idaho writer Gannon. Daniel Kane's career as an L.A. cop has taught him to run a tight ship at home—lining up his four kids and barking out the orders for the day before taking off for work each morning, then meting out punishment when those chores aren't done. As a result, the Kane kids, ranging from 18-year-old Tommy to Nate, the youngest at nine, look forward eagerly to growing old enough to leave home- -despite the fact that home is an idyllic beachfront Santa Monica Bay bungalow that their cellist mother, Catheryn, inherited from her mother. This particular summer, Tommy's last before entering the University of Arizona on a football scholarship, Kane has arranged for a construction job for his two older boys and has ordered Catheryn to forgo an offer to play with the Philharmonic in order to keep an eye on the younger two. Second son Travis, a prodigy on the piano, and only daughter Allison, a budding writer, chafe the most against the insensitivity and discipline of a father who considers their artistic temperaments ``sissy''—and they're predictably the ones who suffer the most as all four Kane kids' acts of rebellion lead them closer and closer to danger. Still, even as tragedy looms, it's hard to condemn this father completely, whose strict example has instilled self-discipline and strength in his children—even when only three survive to profit by it. A somber modern melodrama whose well-drawn, convincing characters are occasionally sabotaged by a TV-movie tendency toward easy moralizing.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-553-10164-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?

more