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Finny: A Novel Paperback – July 13, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
In his impressive debut, Kramon takes on a number of familiar coming-of-age plots--smalltown fish-out-of-water adolescence, frustrated first love, boarding school friendships, big city escapes--and pulls it all off with flair and humor. A 14-year-old misfit in her Maryland hometown, Finny Short is sent to boarding school by her conservative parents soon after acting on a crush on mysterious boy-next-door Earl. At posh Thorndon, she finds an unlikely best friend in Judith, a beautiful heiress who thinks nothing of catching a ride in Peter Jennings's car; together, Earl and Judith prove unexpectedly influential throughout Finny's teenage years, as well as her passage through college. Kramon is at his best sending up Finny's innocence by means of an endearing, Dickensian coterie of side characters like androgynous dorm matron Poplan and Earl's father, a narcoleptic pianist who falls asleep in the middle of performances. Combining snappy dialogue, frank attention to sex, and convincingly detailed characters--eccentric and sympathetic, but not sentimental--Kramon is clearly a find.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
She was christened Delphine, but—strong-minded in this and other things as well—she chose to call herself Finny, and this is the story of some 20 or so formative years of her life, from age 14 to (roughly) 34. That not all of these years are presented consecutively—Kramon skips over high school and a cluster of years in Finny’s twenties and early thirties—lends a not unattractive episodic and even wistful air to this first novel of emotional development, disappointment, and, perhaps, fulfillment. A clutch of eccentric characters evidences Kramon’s fondness for Dickens, and the frequent allusions to Finny’s future (of the years later she would realize sort) salute Dickens’ sentimentality, as well. For the reader, this invites both a parallel nostalgia for that future and an air of the inevitable to Finny’s sometimes unhappy experiences. This mood impacts Kramon’s characters, too, whose actions sometimes seem more imposed than organic. Not a perfect book, therefore, but one that is suffused with tenderness and the promise of good things for the author’s future. --Michael Cart
Top customer reviews
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Not only did I want to talk to others around me about this book, but I found myself shouting at the characters at least in my mind, like some people (ahem) might do as they watch reality TV: "Don't do it!" or "Tell him!" or "What are you thinking??"
This is one of those novels that has a timeless feel. Though it has a contemporary setting, I still found myself surprised when a reference to something contemporary, such as Jenga, crept into the story.
It's sad to see a book end when you've come to love the characters, the storytelling, and the writing so much, but the final chapter was so satisfying. All of the characters were brought back together, so I felt like I could properly say goodbye. It reminded me of the series finale of a TV show, where you really want to see everyone one last time, and the writers indulge you.
This is a wonderful debut novel, and I know that I will definitely keep an eye out for what Justin Kramon writes next.
That said, there were some redeeming characters, no, not Finny, nor Earl ( self centered ). Poplan for one, and Earl's father. Should have a cleaned up version of this, much more enjoyable.
I hesitated in giving it three stars, but the story was good.
Played well on Text-To-Speech
Most recent customer reviews
The reader will follow Finny through twenty plus years of learning
the meaning of friendship,...Read more
I would recommend the book highly