"Poole's Paradise” by John Vorhaus -
In keeping with my promise to self to spend as much time reading as writing (liar!) I'm going to be reviewing the books here from time to time. After a year of heavy duty personal tests, all I want from my entertainment lately, is, well, entertainment.
I'm happy to report that John Vorhaus delivers big time with “Poole's Paradise”.
Set in a New England college town in the mid-seventies, young Alexander Poole has already twigged to the hard truth that the world does not revolve around him and he's okay with it, ready to take in what life has to teach.
To label this a coming of age story would be missing a bet. I promise you'll be rewarded with some unexpected wisdom. You know, the things that make you go “Hmmm.”
Alex is looking for answers, and his place in this world, as many of us were, in a time when the only way to get the True Truth was to interact with people face to face, ask questions and weigh the answers; take chances, have adventures and deal with the consequences of your actions in real time. Flesh and blood! No Google, no Wikipedia, no texting. Hell, pay-phones were few and far between.
I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of my readers had their college experiences in the late sixties to mid seventies. If you kept sufficient brain cells intact and memory persists, mean existence will fall away as you slip in to “Poole's Paradise” and you will recall how fraught with double edged delights those years actually were. I could almost be sad for young people today. Almost.
Yes, yes, there's sex, drugs and rock and roll and a class or two, here and there, but all in (usually) well considered measures and all to a purpose. Not only does the author pin the times, places and people to the wall perfectly, he gets the social mindset (or lack thereof) right on. He does it all justice and then some, working our language like a circus ringmaster works lions and tigers.
I hope Vorhaus gets to write the screenplay when the time comes. I laughed out loud in many places and was kept turning pages when I should have been trying to get some sleep. Who needs to sleep when you are time traveling?
Hey, don't take my word for it. I just now read a fistful of great reviews. Let the casting begin!
If you are at all interested email me and I'll eventually have Sweetie pick a random winner and I'll send you my spare copy of “Poole's Paradise”. You'll just have to live with fact that it's inscribed by the author to yours truly which is another tale itself.
PS. I immediately indulged myself with my first electronic read,
“Lucy in the Sky” - also by John Vorhaus. Set a few years further back in time than Poole's Paradise, when we were all pretty much in the dark about what came next in life. Big questions, big answers all delivered with his signature whip cracking language at a pace that never lets up. Wonder is a watchword.
Loved the book but hated the e-reading experience. Call me a Luddite, but I'll suffer the wait for the paper editions from now on.