Summer crossing : a novel /

It is about a young man, Daniel Boone Price (a high school wrestler), coming of age, feeling the joy and loss of first love, leaving his drab Middle Western Indiana home and going out into the world to become a writer. It is played out against the concurrent death by cancer of Daniel's bitter f...

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Main Author: Tesich, Steve. (Author)
Format: Book
Published:New York : Random House, ©1982.
Edition:1st ed.
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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Coming-of-age in the summer of 1961--as rather fulsomely narrated by Daniel Price, who is just graduating from high-school in East Chicago, indiana, and who will soon go through a familiar pair of growing-up experiences: the death of a parent; and First Love, complete with disillusionment. ""At times my own sexuality overwhelmed me, made me dizzy with yearning for something I had never had, for love, perhaps, and then suddenly a tidal wave of loneliness would come over me, as if at eighteen I had already lived my life and I were an old man who was trying to remember, and couldn't, the loves and days of his youth."" Thus, Daniel--who hangs around with a group of woebegone, dimfuture pals not unlike the ones in Tesich's Breaking Away screenplay--is ripe for infatuation . . . which comes in the form of mysterious, whimsical new-girl-in-town Rachel Temerson: Daniel worships her, courts her, has one tantalizing moment of sexual consummation with her. And when his bitter, primly remote, factory-worker father falls ill with terminal cancer, Daniel uses the all-consuming romance to help him ignore his father, to blot out the dreadful reality: ""My mind had images of Rachel in it. My mind had images of us in it. My mind snapped shut and would not allow my father inside."" But the Rachel-obsessed idyll is short-lived: Daniel's father comes home to die, a mocking, angry presence that can't be avoided (especially when the source of his rage--Daniel's mother's infidelity--is brought to the surface); and finally Rachel herself is shown to be not-what-she-seems--with a melodramatic exposure of the darker side of romance that forces Daniel to face a life of adult ""freedom"" . . . and (after a series of role-playing experiments) embrace it. First-novelist Tesich does best here with the plain, domestic material: the miserable marriage of Daniel's parents (an earthy, mystical, Montenegroborn mother; a frustrated milquetoast-father) is compellingly sketched, as is the dying father's raging farewell. And the easy, sharp dialogue reflects the author's play/screenplay background. But Daniel's infatuation has neither the bigger-than-life sweep of Scott Spencer's Endless Love nor the detailed verisimilitude of Thomas Rogers' At the Shores; the secret-of-Rachel denouement falls flat; and Daniel himself is less vividly, convincingly drawn than either of his two best chums--whose subplots (meant as counterpoint) become odd distractions, as if from another, realer novel. A strangely unsatisfying fiction debut, then--but Tesich's Hollywood credits and his smooth, likable narration should attract a sizable readership. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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