This would be enough to keep any kid occupied, but Calvin’s life is a maelstrom of weirdness even beyond Stalin. (His cousin reports being “abducted by men from Mars and taken up into their spaceship.) Still, as Calvin deals with a school psychologist and the lavish encouragement of an English teacher, the narrative’s emphasis lies in exploring childhood in the context of American suburbia in the 1950s. This is a story with soda jerks and beatniks in the streets and Howdy Doody and Senator McCarthy talking about communists on TV.
The humor and observations make this truly enjoyable beyond being an engaging slice of Americana. This is a funny story told in the energetic, curious voice of a teenager, but one with thoughts that will entertain adults. While slightly long, and offering more incident than plot, Sercomb’s novel will appeal to those who lived through the 1950s as well as those fascinated by that era.
Takeaway: A sharp teen voice drives this episodic, playfully ambitious novel of 1950s America.
Great for fans of: Tom Perrotta, A.M. Homes
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A