This is a book that works on three different levels. At one level, it is the story of a boy becoming a young man in a small Pennsylvania town. His job as a milkman's assistant (the one who actually carries the bottles to and from the porches and kitchens of the customers on the route) provides the backdrop for his story. At another level, the story brings back memories of how things used to be when some people left their doors unlocked so the milkman could deliver the bottles right into the kitchen. It was a time when other customers left the milkman's money on the porch. People knew the milkman and his assistant, just as they knew all their neighbors. It was a much more innocent time in America and some time with the book can make you remember how good it was - and how much has been missed by generations that will never know those times. At a final level, it will make you stop and personalize some memories as some of the scenes take you back in time. How can you not remember the childhood joy of playing in the rain and being rushed into a warm bath and dry clothes - or getting the same treatment after spending too long a time in the snow? Can you recall the church-like silence when it was just you and the snow? Remember the lazy days when the kids went to bed but stayed up listening to the grown-ups talking downstairs or in the yard? Remember the father who could fix anything and always had the tools and right (or semi-right) parts to make things work? How about the mother who effortlessly cooked the best food ever? All in all, a good read - but take your time and savor it.
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