From Publishers Weekly
Author of the 1967 YA bestseller The Outsiders
and its sequels, several children's books and the adult novel Hawkes Harbor
(2004), Hinton offers a thin collection of 14 connected short-short stories that explore the divergent lives of two close cousins whose fathers are killed in car accident when the boys are adolescents. When the cousins are both 25, a drug deal goes wrong: Terry is imprisoned, while Mike gets away, living a fugitive life in Oklahoma as a bartender and bouncer. The tales move back and forth in time: "The Sweetest Sound" describes nine-year-old Mike's being awakened during the night when his father, a war vet, cries out in his sleep; while "Full Moon Birthday" finds the boys sharing Mike's first legal drink and a friendly older woman. Later stories delve into Mike's dead-end, often dangerous job at the bar, and his attempt at striking up a friendship with his pretty adult-ed instructor. Finally, Terry gets out of prison to a tense homecoming. Hinton is clearly aiming for terse, but what's here feels bare bones; interviews with the author take up more space than these plainspoken tales. (Apr.)
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This entry in the Oklahoma Stories and Storytellers series comprises two parts, the first a novella by Tulsa native Hinton, the second a collection of interviews with the reclusive author, who is best known for the seminal young-adult novel The Outsiders
(1967). Although the appended discussions are the primary draw here, readers curious about a beloved writer's mature output won't want to skip the novella, aimed at an adult audience, where linked vignettes about male cousins form a smooth continuum with Hinton's gritty, guy-dominated YA novels. The interviews supply some insights about the intentions behind this work (including a convoluted explanation of the title), but the greatest attention is paid to Hinton's early oeuvre, including intriguing details about the adaptation of her novels into films ("Rob Lowe . . . called me 'Mom' half the time"). Hinton's fan base extends beyond regional and generational boundaries, warranting broader attention for this title than is suggested by the series' regional focus. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved