Saturday, May 7, 2011

A memorable story that you’ll want to read again and again

“I once believed soft, warm, beautiful things could never flourish in an environment of hard concrete and cold, dark bricks. In a tough paycheck-to-paycheck, hard-luck place with a name like Flushing, life’s finer things appeared only in dreams.”

So begins Tom Winton’s fine novel about a young high school student named Dean Cassidy, whose negative philosophy and grinding, dysfunctional family life appears both intransigent and rapidly headed downhill. I thought: “Can a story this gloomy be anything other than a really depressing read?” Yes it can, especially in Tom Winton’s capable hands. It’s a page-turner that I couldn’t put down.

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty in Dean Cassidy’s young life that could easily sink his future – a clinically depressed mother, a crappy apartment in an old building, a frustrated father, alcohol, drugs – you name it … except that this kid just refuses to give up.

Then along comes Theresa, the dream of any hormonally charged, young man. She sees and homes in like a laser on his inner strength. How can these two lovers possibly make it with all the odds they face? Will they make it? If they do, what will their life be like? If they don’t, then what?

Do they make it and live happily together forever? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Does Dean achieve his great dream of being a writer? Does he have the stamina and the guts to stay at it, come what may? Again, you’ll have to read the book to find out. But here’s a clue: Everyone reviewing the book on gives it a 5-star thumbs up. That’s 19 people as of a moment ago, not including me. With my vote, that’s 20. Not surprising at all. I can’t wait to read his next novel.


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