Thursday, March 1, 2012


One reviewer likened the opening pages to something from Cormac McCarthy.  In fact, the first chapter described such a brutal act of animal cruelty that I was tempted to abandon this book.  The violence subsides, but the plot continued to make me angry.  I suppose that an author hopes to induce strong emotions in the reader, but I think I've read enough books about drunken fathers to last a lifetime.  OK, that's not really what the book is about, but still….  After their parents die in a car accident, the teenage Buddy Hope (optimistic choice of last names) and his big brother Lee head west, where Lee finds work as a honky-tonk singer in Snake Junction, Idaho.  Buddy basically just lounges around until Irene, a 30-something beauty, appears on the scene.  She's known Lee's kind before, but Buddy piques her interest.  I'm reminded of the movie Summer of '42.  Basically, Irene teaches Buddy about justice and not jumping to conclusions, among other things.  Their relationship, short as it is, is marked by several such misunderstandings, at least one of which Irene intentionally plants.  All of these screw-ups just tended to get on my nerves.  I did sort of enjoy the scene where Buddy is thwarted in his effort to castrate a goat, until Lee shows up to mock his attempts and ultimately assist in the process.  Trying to lasso a goat:  funny.  Castrating a goat:  not so funny.  I'm glad that he never got around to the cats.

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