Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Headfirst off the Caprock": A Review

Daddy checking out his first copy!
I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately.  "Lean In," as I've mentioned, Michael Pollan's iconic "Omnivore's Dilemma" and then his subsequent "In Defense of Food."  And while I've been enjoying them in a fact-hoarding way, there's something to be said for the almost guilty pleasure of sinking into fiction, which is what I did when I read my dad's recently published "Headfirst off the Caprock."

Ah, fiction.  Characters you get to know and like, sympathize with and judge.  "Headfirst" provides the pleasure of character, as the novel follows its hero Kerry through his senior year of high school in the 1970s.  He's a likable guy (who quite reminds me of the author) with a passion for music and a frustration with the way things are going in Duro, his tiny West Texas town.

Lucky for us we meet Kerry just as things are heating up in Duro -- there's a drug bust on the horizon -- and just before he meets his first love, Laura.  We get to watch Kerry and Laura's relationship unfold in an almost painfully realistic way (think 18-year-old palm sweats, insecurities, and never quite knowing how into you your date is).  But we also get to experience the naive, pure happiness that comes with a first romance.  It made me cry.

While obscure music references and details of life in the Caprock make this a perfect read for anyone who came of age in the 70s, the book's quickly moving plot and subtle, likable characters make it a pleasure for all lovers of a good story.

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