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Spooner    by Pete Dexter order for
by Pete Dexter
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The moment Spooner was born, he had a problem. His twin was stillborn after a prolonged labor. Not his fault, but the tragedy was never forgotten. His dad turned up his toes soon afterwards, leaving Spooner with no memory of him. Time marched on and Spooner's dad was replaced by Calmer Ottosson, an ex-naval officer who did his best by Spooner.

Life is never easy. Spooner did his best to prove that old adage. He was always in trouble as a child, as an adolescent, and finally as an adult. His life moved on with one more prank or mischief or downright rotten behavior. Pete Dexter's Spooner is the story of Spooner and Calmer's relationship throughout their lives. Not a remarkable story, although it is easy to get caught up in it. Calmer tries to keep Spooner on the right path. Spooner tries to understand why this would matter to Calmer.

Spooner, Pete Dexter's seventh novel, is a delightful, easy to read book that makes this reader think back to her own childhood relationships with parents and siblings. Life wasn't easy growing up a Depression baby. Life wasn't especially easy for a lot of people at that time. But I have good memories. Poor Spooner had very few good ones. Which, of course, carried over into his later life.

Spooner eventually settled down with wife, children and responsibility. He was not an unblemished man, but one who tried hard to do the right thing. Not easy to achieve when his earlier life led him so far stray.

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