Email this review


In the final installment of his Gro Vont trilogy (Skipped Parts, 1991; Sorrow Floats, 1992), Sandlin completes the backwoods soap opera in which our hero loses his girl, searches for his father, and finally comes of age at 33. Not that Sam Callahan is a late bloomer in all respects: Readers of the earlier works will recall that he became a father at 13 and inherited his Grandpa Caspar's gigantic North Carolina estate five years later. Nevertheless, he has maintained a prepubescent psyche that is no longer equal to his situation. ""Traumatic events always happen,"" according to Sam, ""exactly two years before I reach the maturity level to deal with them."" Today, he has his hands full: His wife has left him, his daughter has lost her virginity, his mother is wanted for the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan's dog, and his writer's block has left him two years behind schedule with Bucky on Half Dome (the latest of the young-adult novels that have made his name as an author). How better to take his mind off things than by tracking down his father? It seems that Sam's mother conceived him as the result of a gang-rape perpetrated by five high-school football players who still live in the neighborhood. Sam finds that looking them up only increases his misery -- in a variety of ways that most readers could have predicted -- but in the end he succeeds in piecing together a new life from the fragments of the old. About as intricate as an episode of Cheers, Sandlin's narrative is likable enough but relies too heavily on a quick tempo and a wry voice. Good clean fun, but not much else.

Pub Date: June 9th, 1995
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Henry Holt