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The Junk-Drawer Corner-Store Front-Porch Blues Hardcover – February 28, 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
In this quip-packed novel from the author of Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? , narrator Donald Cooper, a divorced father and gag writer in L.A., reassesses his life and finally comes of age. Donald is gloomy: the results of his lung biopsy are pending, his girlfriend has just stormed out of the apartment, it's his 45th birthday and no well-wishers have called--not even his elderly mother back in Chicago. Donald himself has avoided his hometown since his younger brother's death 25 years ago. But when he learns that his mother has been hospitalized after a fall, he rushes to her bedside. She persuades him to retrieve some items from the house where he grew up, and returning there allows him to begin a protracted eulogy to Danny, who died at 18. In no particular order, he recalls baseball games, family dinners, holidays and dating, telling how Danny, his closest friend, shrugged off competition though he was a natural at sports and easily won girls over with his mature sensitivity. Powers based this novel on a one-man show, Scissors, Paper, Rock , in which he toured the country in 1989; reading it is like watching a series of home movies.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Do not be misled by the awkwardly hyphenated title. Powers, author of The Last Catholic in America ( LJ 2/15/73) and Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? ( LJ 12/1/75), offers a well-crafted tale of humor and redemption. The story follows comedy writer Donald Cooper as he returns to his family home and confronts the grief he has carried for 20 years. Cooper's memories of growing up in a Chicago neighborhood, Saturday baseball, evenings on the porch, and unfinished lives are counterpoised with the complexities of his present relationships. Told as a series of flashbacks interspersed with ironic commentary, the result is a funny and poignant tale of the human journey and family bonds. An excellent addition to all fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/91.
- Jan Blodgett, St. Mary's Cty. Records Ctr. & Archives, Leonardtown, Md.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
My appreciation for the perspective, fictional though it was, was amplified by a chance meeting with John within a week of having finished the book. I asked him how he knew about the kind of pain and loneliness he 'faked' in the book. With tears in his eyes he said, "It will be twenty years tomorrow..." Our conversation made me relax in my rush to 'get over' the loss, and inspired me to write through the sorrow.
Just a few days ago, as I was preparing a 20th anniversary observation of my brother's death, I learned that John passed away earlier this year (2013). I hope someone remembers him the way he remembered others, and can inspire/help others the way he did me.
Good book. Better man.