Pete Dexter's novel, Spooner, seems to be part autobiographical and part fiction—enough
biographical material to be more believable than pure fiction, and enough fictional storytelling to make
the biographical materical more comical and entertaining
When Spooner's twin brother is stillborn, their mother claims the dead twin as her favorite. These
events have a lasting effect on Spooner and spawn another delightful character whom the reader will
love despite his shortcomings.
Spooner's life can never seem to rise to a positive point. At a very young age he is a criminal.
Later he becomes a detested reporter and, at the end, he has trouble dealing with something as simple
The introduction of his stepfather, Calmer Ottosson, whether biographical or purely fictional, lays
the groundwork for some interesting and comical scenes.
Yes, the book is long and episodic but such is life, and the extra length gives the author more
opportunities to place Spooner in situations that follow a pattern where he seldom gets it right.
Aside from the ridiculous situations in which Spooner finds himself, the author's use of language
in some of his one-liners is appropriate for the story and yet funny. Readers are certain to enjoy
lines such as the following: "Ottosson recently came from South Dakota where most people wouldn't
smile if you gave them the Nobel Peace Prize," or "A mule has teeth like Halloween teeth."
This is a book in which the reader can follow the up and downs (mostly downs) of Spooner and give
him all the love he can—Spooner needs it.