ALMOST HOME by T.M. McNally

ALMOST HOME

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The coming-of-age of two adolescents in the drugged 1970s, by the author of Until Your Heart Stops (1993) and the Flannery O’Connor Award collection of 1992, Low Flying Aircraft. Elizabeth Pinski first notices Patrick McConnell because he’s so nondescript: small, friendless, and always wearing the same worn-out sweater. Then in the high-school choir, Elizabeth hears him hit a high C and, a talented musician herself, falls in love. Patrick loves her, too, partly because of the long scar up her arm, the result of an accident in her childhood. Both of McNally’s characters are shy as deer, sensitive, wounded: Elizabeth’s physical scar seems also to be psychic; and Patrick, a newcomer to Paradise Valley, Arizona, is still shaky after his father’s suicide. There’s an obstacle, though, to their love: Elizabeth’s brutal boyfriend Bittner, whose rough strength and lack of subtlety she had thought she could cling to as a bulwark against the hedonistic environment she’s growing up in, where sex and cocaine salve despair. Bittner beats up Patrick, and he doesn’t interfere when a cocaine addict has sex with a dozen young men in order to pay for her habit, then tries to kills herself. Elizabeth saves the girl and undergoes a spiritual change: She finds that sweet Patrick is strong, too, in his innate decency. Patrick has a clever dog, Germs, and the three cruise the strip of their rambunctious new suburb north of Phoenix, finding not only love but the values they—ll need to survive in an amoral world. Once again, though, Bittner enters their lives, bringing with him the euphoria of cocaine and the misery that follows it, but they pull through. Elizabeth and Patrick have real charm, particularly in scenes with Patrick’s delightful dog, but the drug story nearly overwhelms them.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-684-84469-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1998




MORE BY T.M. MCNALLY

FictionUNTIL YOUR HEART STOPS by T.M. McNally
by T.M. McNally
FictionLOW FLYING AIRCRAFT by T.M. McNally
by T.M. McNally