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This award-winning novel of growing up in 1970s New Jersey “reads like a cross between the film American Beauty and Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story” (The Advocate).
A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller and Winner of the Lambda Literary Award
The time is the late 1970s—an age of gas shortages, head shops, and Saturday Night Fever. The place, suburban New Jersey. At a time when the teenagers around him are coming of age, Robin MacKenzie is coming undone. While “normal boys” are into cars, sports, and bullying their classmates, Robin enjoys day trips to New York City with his elegant mother, spinning fantastic tales for her amusement in an intimate ritual he has come to love. He dutifully plays the role of the good son for his meat-and-potatoes father, even as his own mind is a jumble of sexual confusion and painful self-doubt. But everything changes in one horrifying instant when a tragic accident wakes his family from their middle-American dream and plunges them into a spiral of slow destruction.
As his family falls apart, Robin finds himself pulling away from the unquestioned, unexamined life that has been carefully laid out for him, engaging in small acts of rebellion and asking big questions. The result is a “rich and unflinching” story of an outcast figuring out his own complex future beyond the world of normal boys (The New York Times Book Review).
“This first novel is so eloquent because it is hellbent on collaring the reader and telling him or her the whole passionate story.” —Edmund White
“An amusingly detailed and largely accurate picture of life in the Jersey ’burbs.” —Publishers Weekly
“Full of tension and suspense, Soehnlein’s well-paced debut novel is a fresh look at one boy’s sexual awakening in the 1970s and his journey to find a place where he can fit in.” —Booklist