Another Review at MyShelf.Com


by Pete Dexter


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 as neighbors.

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.

The Book

Grand Central Publishing
September 23, 2009
978-0-446-54072-8 / 0446540722
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The Reviewer

Willie Elliott
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Willie Elliott is's "Before the Title" columnist, covering non-fiction books and related subjects.
© 2009