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Full Service Hardcover – September 15, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–The summer of '65 sizzles for high school sophomore-to-be Paul and his rural Minnesota family. They are members of a nondenominational Christian sect that practices communal farm work and fellowship. At his mother's urging, Paul lands a job in town at the Shell station where assorted bamboozlers give his worldview a whack upside the head. Will members of his sect condone Paul's worldly contact? Will he bring trouble upon himself for facilitating a fling between a beautiful schoolmate and the town bad boy? Or will his moral undoing be at the hands of Janet, 16, eldest child of the hippie couple who Dad charitably invites to camp at the farm while they repair their van? Teens will likely relate to details such as Paul's secretly listening to the radio under the blankets at night and his razor-sharp observations of his loving father. Male readers, especially, may be hooked by the steamy bits and will be rewarded by a cast of carefully shaped, diverse characters who illuminate important truths about that confusing time when Vietnam began to grow in the nation's collective consciousness as a constant, if hazy, backdrop to everything. The warm, affirming denouement suggests that life's highway is endlessly fascinating, frequently challenging, and bound to include some unanticipated bumps and detours.–Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. At his mother's suggestion, 15-year-old Wisconsin farm boy Paul Sutton takes a summer job "in town," pumping gas at the local Shell station. "You need to meet the public," his mother says, and for a boy from a conservative Christian background, what a revelation that public proves to be! There's Harry, a retired gangster (and murderer?); a family of hippies headed for San Francisco (it being 1965); a group of popular local kids (S. E. Hinton would have called them "Socs"); and more. It's enough to test one's faith. Of course it does, repeatedly, as Paul falls in love; discovers beer, marijuana, and rum-soaked cigars; and begins to question his most deeply held beliefs. There's a lot of familiar material in this coming-of-age novel that seems a sometimes uneasy mix of Lake Woebegone and The Outsiders but Weaver is a wonderful stylist and his beautifully chosen words put such a shine on his deeply felt story that most teens will be able to find their own faces reflected in its pages. Chances are, they'll like what they see. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (October 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374324859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374324858
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,937,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In the summer of 1965, shy Paul Sutton, at the urging of his mother, takes a job at the local Shell gas station in the tourist town of Hawk Bend, Minnesota. Paul is a bit apprehensive about his new summer occupation, but nonetheless leaves the shadow of his family's religious farming community and goes to "meet the public." Paul's stint as a full-service gas attendant quickly becomes anything but a simple summer job.

First, there's Kirk, the angry gas station manager whose frequent "service calls" and narrow-minded opinions soon get him in more trouble than he can handle. Then there's Harry, a kind, older gentlemen who's still trying to escape his gangster past. And beautiful Peggy, whose torrid love triangle between her controlling boyfriend Stephen and dark-haired Dale --- Peggy's on-the-side lover who's headed for Vietnam --- snags Paul into its tangled web.

Along with the great expectations of his community's fundamentalist ministers, the family of hippies visiting Hawk Bend on their way to San Francisco, and the various tourists who pass through Shell Station, Paul finds himself dealing with the prospect of a new independent life or continuing to lead the odd quiet farm life in which he grew up.

FULL SERVICE is about a young man's rite of passage as the world he lives in is undergoing its tumultuous own coming of age. It's a strangely compelling, nostalgic novel that may make readers notice how much the world has changed and how they themselves may have changed as well.

--- Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle ([...])
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
" 'No, no, no,' she said impatiently, wiping her hands and turning down her radio, 'a real summer job--full-time. One where you could meet the public.'

"I glanced quickly through the screen door. 'What about Father?'

" 'I'll talk with him.'

"I shrugged. 'Yeah, well, what about the others?'

" 'For once let's not worry about the others,' she said. She turned back to her dishes, and her hands again moved into the soapy water as quick as trout among stones.

" 'The others' takes some explaining. We were a Midwestern family long on religion. Not Lutheran, but sort of. Not Mennonite, but kind of. Not Amish, but a little bit. Not Quaker, but a good part. It was a Christian nondenominational faith, a phrase mystifying to my few school friends who were not in it ('Come on, Sutton, how can a church have no name?'). Farmwork was communal. My family shared the larger machinery--baler, grain combine, corn picker, silo-filling equipment--with several other families in the Faith. Planting, haying, threshing, silo filling, corn picking were done on an orderly circuit: VandenEides, Grundlags, Sorheims, Suttons (that was us), and so on. Unlike the Mennonites in Canada or the Amish in central Minnesota, each family owned its own farm, but the focus was on shared work, worship, and fitting in with the others."

It's 1965, and Paul Sutton has spent his first nearly-sixteen years pretty-well sheltered by life on the farm, and living among those families of the Faith. Tumultuous events elsewhere--the Civil Rights Movement, the War--seem like they're taking place in another world as heard through Paul's mom's little transistor radio. But Paul's life is about to get shaken up in a big way thanks to one of his mom's infamous "plans":

" 'All right.
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Format: Hardcover
Full Service's characters feel real. The interactions feel like they matter. There is a plot arc but it doesn't dominate the book - instead the book unfolds a particular summer, a particular lens on how it goes in a small white town and the larger world. This particular lens has a lot to do with sexuality and making sense of the world. There are a couple subtle gay characters but the focus is on heterosexuality - and this is one of the few teen books I've read where the women and girls are just as lusty as the men and boys and aren't made to suffer G-d's wrath for it. This is one of the books where each character is rounded with a virtue and a problem. It reminded me of "Our Town" but less feeling of allegory and more the feeling you could know people like these.
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