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The light of common day
John Herman
Adult Fiction HERMAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Former publisher John Herman has followed up his admired The Weight of Love with the kind of book that is more often a first novel: a bittersweet coming-of-age story about a youth at a tony prep school coming to terms with life, love and the death of his father. Paul Werth is a bright boy, good at baseball and well up in his studies, who is inclined to take people too much at face value: a girl who comes on to him out of her own deep dissatisfactions; a flashily sophisticated friend who tends to call people Bambino (the year is 1962); a truly kindred spirit who likes to pretend she is a femme fatale. Overriding all these concerns‘as well as a quaint fuss over drugs at the school‘is Paul's anguish over the sudden death of his much-loved father. He died a disappointed man, and his dying attempts to warn Paul about life's perils have made the boy profoundly uneasy. Much of this can hardly fail to be evocative, and sometimes, as in Paul's memories of a childhood girlfriend who succumbed to leukemia, it is truly touching. There's no denying the fact, however, that for all Herman's quiet skill as a writer, most of it is also crushingly familiar material. Perhaps this was his first novel, after all. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Paul Werth is a junior at a private high school in 1962, and the world lies before him. But he is struggling with the pressures of adolescence, unsure of his friends, his girlfriend, and his feelings about the death of his father. These emotions are intensified when the school launches an investigation to determine which students are pushing drugs; given his status as a baseball-team starter, Paul is forced into making some unpleasant decisions. Recalling advice from his dying father, Paul soon realizes that people aren't necessarily who they seem to be. Herman (The Weight of Love, Doubleday, 1995) takes us back to coming-of-age struggles 30 years ago when crack and AIDS were unknown and the Beatles hadn't yet invaded America. Accurately capturing the confusion of youth, he leads us through the maze in smooth, readable style to Paul's recognition of self. Ultimately, however, the book feels more like a reminiscence than a a true coming-of-age story, and it won't mean much to those who didn't live through the Sixties. An optional purchase.‘Joshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. System, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Paul Werth
Age: 16
Upper class; prep school student.

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