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More Than Enough: A Novel Paperback – August 3, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fulton bends the generic coming-of-age plot line to explore the effects of poverty and anger on a blue-collar Salt Lake City family in his first novel, which begins when 15-year-old Steven Parker and his sister, Jenny, are attacked by a Mormon gang. Steven's shoulder is dislocated in the scuffle, and a hospital visit puts a strain on the family's resources. Parker's family lives the high life for a brief period when the attacker's embarrassed father foots the bill for the boy's medical care, but once Parker's down-and-out, erratic father, Billy, goes through the money, the Parkers are once again forced to rely on Steven's mother, Mary, for support through her job as a nurse's aide in a rest home. But Mary has a twist of her own in mind when she tires of dealing with her husband's anger problems and takes up with a lawyer she meets during his visit to the rest home. Their impending union leads to an attempt to introduce Steven and Jenny to the lawyer's kids, but the effort to engineer an expanded family unit backfires when Steven's temper surfaces during his visit to the lawyer's house. Fulton's fast-moving prose and his knack for quirky scenes keeps the opening chapters interesting and unusual, and this might have been a compelling book had he increased the size of the attacker's award and stuck with the subplot of the Parkers living high on the hog. But the story line degenerates into genre clich‚ once Fulton focuses on the family issues, dimming the efforts of a talented writer who duplicates much of the promise he showed in Retribution, his debut short story collection.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Perpetually short on money and led by a parent who's all dreamer, no doer, the Parker family gets a few months of middle-class living when the 15-year-old narrator is beaten up by a Mormon bully (the atheist Parkers have recently relocated to Salt Lake City) whose wealthy father settles out of court. A jobless spendthrift, Stephen's dad races through the cash. His sister drifts toward religion, if only because the popular, wealthy, happy-seeming kids are Mormon, and his mother takes a job she loathes at a nursing home to keep everyone fed. On the morning a patient dies in her arms, something snaps, setting off a chain of events that alters everything for the family in the space of one hellish day. Fulton writes searingly and realistically about divorce. Stephen watches as his father becomes a figure of pity, a groveling buffoon with a runny nose and an untied shoe wailing for love, and sees his mother become another man's sex object, preening like she never has in the teen's lifetime. The surreal moment when he realizes that his folks are not only parents but also people full of passion and pathos almost disgusts Stephen. Readers will appreciate that Fulton gets it, and also has the honesty not to wrap it all up neatly.
Emily Lloyd, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 195 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st edition (August 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312276753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312276751
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Valerie S. Fowler on March 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
John Fulton explores the breakdown of the dysfunctional family so thoroughly and so intimately in this book that while I was reading I often felt the embarrassment of one who is caught snooping. Steven Parker and his sister Jenny are caught in the downward spiral of their parents hopes and regrets about the lives they've chosen. Living in the, primarily Mormon, society of Salt Lake City is making it difficult for Billy Parker, the father, to pass on his strong disbelief in God to his children. Jenny makes friends with a girl on the cheerleading squad and begins memorizing the Ten Commandments, while Steven deals with the after-effects of being bullied by some rich neighborhood brats. Mary Parker carries the financial burden of her husbands lack of work ethics and swears every time Billy goes a little nuts that she's taking the kids and leaving.
What captivated me about this story is the way that Fulton dissects this falling-out so carefully... taking the length of a book to narrate the couple of months it takes for this family's inevitable disintegration. This kind of information gives birth to gossip in the real world, but here we get the whole, messy, painfully honest story. While the ending did leave me feeling slightly depressed, it is also very realistic and, therefore, leaves that small crack of hope open. This is a wonderful story written by an author who truly knows his characters.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lunatique on December 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
John Fulton is an excellent writer with all the stuff to become a great one. This novel is way too bleak, in my opinion. The bad, uncomfortable, painful scenes follow one after another, without a single ray of hope... ever. It is beautifully observed, gorgeously written, achingly painful... but it doesn't have a central idea to walk away from it with...except perhaps that life [is terrible]. Other than admiring the fine prose, the reader gets nothing except a depressing situation to ponder. I want more from this talented writer than a heaping helping of gloom; I want a larger context to view all this from and Fulton doesn't provide it. I don't want anything trite or Hallmark, mind you, just SOMETHING redemptive.
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By jade19721 on April 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
It was an ok book even though I pretty much despised all the characters and just really wanted to beat the dickens out of them all. The Parker Family is quite the unhappy bunch. You have the parents..The father is a pretty decent guy and probably would be perfect if he could keep his head out of the clouds, keep a decent job, and spend more time in reality. The mother has spent way too much time with this man and his empty promises. Then you have the kids, Stephen, the main character is their 16 year old son. He doesn't have many friends and then you have the daughter, Jenny who is 14 and wants desperatly to be part of any accepting group. The story starts off with the Parkers moving to Salt Lake City, UTah in mormon country. Stephen & Jenny are out walking their dog one afternoon when Stephen gets beaten up and his collarbone broken by a rich mormon kid. Stephen's father manages to wrangle a nice tidy sum from the kids father for medical bills and pain & suffering. It doesn't take long for the family to go through all the money. First they buy things that they really need, then his father starts to go through this money buying crap thatis not needed. One example was when he went to the grocery store and bought all sorts of food that "rich people eat" like caviar etc, but wind up throwing it out because he did not like the taste of it.

So the money disappears at an alaming rate so the mother goes out and gets a job at a nursing home as a nurses assistance. Then this is where the book takes a turn and just really bothers me. All of a sudden the mother meets another man and decides to leave her husband and move in with him and taking the kids with her. Stephen goes off the deep end and causes a bunch of trouble.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Goldfarb on September 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Steven Parker's family moves to Salt Lake City as his father's last chance to improve their lot. They live a rich fantasy life that covers up the harshness of their poverty in the middle of an affluent city until Steven's arm is yanked out of its socket by a boy who objects to his lack of belief in God. Billy, Steven's dad, has not paid the health insurance bills, so Steven has to be driven in the snow clear across town to the local charity hospital. When Billy negotiates a settlement with the family of the boy who beat up Steven, the temporary affluence the money causes pushes the family over the edge.

One day, when Steven's mother witnesses a death at the elder care facilty where she performs menial work so the family will never be without health insurance again, the same day Billy's grades at the school where he is supposed to be training for a second career come in as failures, she gets fed up, and she acts decisively to break the family apart. A single day takes up two-thirds of the book as the scenario is played out, leaving her and her daughter safe and financially secure and Billy and Steven alone together with no prospects.

This book has a lot to say about teenage angst, the paper-thin veneer of many Americans' affluence and the culture shocks that can still affect us in this seemingly homogenous society. Ultimately, some of the reactions, particularly Steven's, seemed a little contrived and overly dramatic, and the reactions to him appeared unrealistic. But Fulton is a superb writer and the Salt Lake he recreates is true to life.
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More Than Enough: A Novel
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