Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Book Review: Spinning Dixie by Eric Dezenhall

This is another book that I received for free from the author's publicist. After a slow beginning, I really got into this cross between a "coming-of-age" novel and a not-so-mysterious mystery.

Dezenhall is at his best in the flashbacks -- I would even use the adjectives lyrical and evocative. He captures the angst of the main character's young adulthood perfectly.

Rattle & Snap

I would have encouraged the author/editor/publisher to call this novel "Rattle & Snap", the name of the Southern plantation at which much of the key action takes place. Also the name of a card game, I just think Rattle & Snap is more evocative and intriguing a title.

Also, this is a book about a young man and his coming of age, as well as that same man's middle-aged reflections on the young man he once was, and how the totality of his experiences brought him to the place in which he finds himself.

Colorful Characters

Because his parents are killed when he is little, Jonah Eastman is raised by his grandparents. His grandfather is a gangster -- New Jersey's Bugsy Siegel. Jonah's grandmother is a former showgirl. The grandfather's employees are an interesting, Sopranos-esque background for some of the story.

The adolescent Jonah's first love is a modern Southern belle, Claudine, who lives at Rattle & Snap. They "meet cute" as they used to say in the movie biz.

Bottom Line

I think Dezenhall shines brightest when writing dialog.

Read this book for its evocation of different people and places than most of us ever encounter, but who are nonetheless believable, for the most part. There is definite charm here.


Post a Comment

<< Home