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A Rainbow Together
Danny Davies, author

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

The socially turbulent summer of 1964 triggers a cyclone of upheaval. For both the nation and Davey Dodd, a sheltered 17 year old from Kentucky. At the onset, he remains blissfully unaware of the radical changes about to come. He takes a job across the river at a large Cincinnati hotel, which at first only serves to intensify his feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt. The coarse masculinity of most of his peers intimidates him, but at the same time he wishes he could be more like those guys who boast of sexual escapades and other easy sins. His rigid Catholic upbringing has fostered in him a sort of emotional paralysis. As the weeks unfold, however, the diverse people and situations he encounters open his eyes to a colorful new world of possibilities. And he dares to examine this disconcerting passion he feels for co-worker, Tony DeStefano. Set against the backdrop of the Freedom Summer’s burgeoning civil rights movement, Davey embarks on a journey toward acceptance and personal integrity. Though it seems most of the world suggests there’s no place for the likes of him, Davey trusts in the lyrics of “Volare.” “Like birds of a feather, a rainbow together we’ll find.”

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.25 out of 10

Assessment:

Davies delivers a literary coming-of-age story with elegiac prose. For 17-year-old, Catholic-raised Davey Dodd, the summer of 1964 is one of introspection, confusion, and burgeoning awareness. After taking a job at a posh Cincinnati hotel, Davey grapples with his attraction to men and growing affection for coworker Tony. Narrated by Davey looking back on his experiences as an adolescent, the voice lends the story a layer of perceptiveness, without detracting from the rawness of Davey’s suffering and exhilaration during the significant summer.

Date Submitted: September 07, 2016

Reviews
Amazon Books

Readers who grew up in the Cincinnati area will enjoy the references to the city in an earlier era

ByClaudia J. Kasvinon September 4, 2016

Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase

For many of us, the process of revealing and coming to terms with who we really are can take a lifetime, but it almost always begins in adolescence. In Danny Davies poignant first novel, A Rainbow Together, sixteen-year-old Davy Dodd, on the cusp of adulthood, finds himself beginning to confront his own sexuality in an era when even the vocabulary related to sex was unavailable to teens and, indeed, to most adults. Set in the 60s, the book is part nostalgia and part coming-of-age story. Central to the novel is Davey's relationship with Tony DeStefano, the classic handsome, athletic high school hero, but a boy struggling against the mores of his time and his Catholic upbringing. Mr. Davies treats this relationship with sensitivity and compassion as it propels Davey on the journey to discover his true self.

A former English teacher, Mr. Davies clearly relishes the taste and flavor of words and has a knack for the surprising turn of phrase. Readers who grew up in the Cincinnati area will enjoy the references to the city in an earlier era. Following Davey's story, we are reminded of a time when Vietnam was just a faraway name on a map, mothers took a break from housekeeping to watch soap operas, Life magazine was on every coffee table and segregation was the norm in American culture. Mr. Davies seamlessly weaves all of these threads and more into Davey's story and makes us aware of how they have an impact on Davey's life. A beautiful story, movingly told, with just enough of Davies' signature humor to make this novel well worth your time.

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