I could not resist a title carrying the name of my home town. Chance and sentimentality have rewarded me. This is a delightful story of being young, innocent and of substance also.
Though set long after my growing up in Tulsa, I am struck that the atmosphere the author creates is as familiar as the scent of baby oil. I find myself beginning to believe my emotions that there is something very healthy about Tulsa.
If one is looking for sex, drugs, dysfunction and perversion, this is not the book for you. The adolescent and young adult characters are unashamedly wholesome as milk; even the less rooted Adrienne. But they are believable and likely evoke, as they did for me, memories of innocent insecurity and masking it with cool.
Where does all this wholesomeness come from? Picasso’s painting of “First Step” has been cited many times for the profound recognition that baby’s first step is always away from mother. Others, including myself, have expanded on the concept that first there must be a mother, an attachment, to step forward from. This author adds the dimension that there must be a home, a place, to leave.
With smoothly moving first person prose and dialogue the book describes some, and implies other, of those attachments to person and place that set us on our ways into the rest of our lives. They are loved objects, carried as aspects of core identity. In the many plus years of my life one of the ways I define myself is where I am from, what remains behind; the most prominent being from Tulsa. I will carry with me always the poignant experience of gazing out the window of the DC 9 as we ascended, viewing the familiar geometrically laid out homes and farms; leaving my mother in the ground and knowing by no stretch could I ever again call Tulsa home.
Tulsa of my years was the most democratic of the young and progressive cities. As in Jim’s case, most of the childhood peer groups commingled children of great wealth and cultural advantage with Native American children, Jewish children, later African American and children from homes, such as mine and Jim’s, of white middle class ethics and morality.
There is no way I can review this book dispassionately. I will look forward to how the innocence and decency of the characters strikes other people. It is virtually unique for a modern book. Paradoxically for me it gives an authenticity to the narrative that I rarely experience in modern literature.
As with the city; the book is easy to love.
Original review on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A2HPGAITZ10WZ7/ref=cm_cr_pr_auth_rev?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview