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The Boy Who Went Away by Eli Gottlieb

The Boy Who Went Away

by Eli Gottlieb

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Indiespensable autographed paperback reissue.

Excellent novel, chronicling the summer the narrator's older brother was institutionalized with what we now recognize as autism. Only four stars due to the child narrator, to which I can never properly adjust. ( )
  kcshankd | Sep 11, 2015 |
Young Denny has a mentally disabled older brother James, or Fad, his mother is determined to keep Fad at home, but the medical experts seem intent on putting him in a home. Denny tells of the events of the three months that leading up to that decision.

Fad is the centre of his mothers life, and with a rather distant father who is a little too fond of his drink, Denny is often on the sidelines, and he devotes his time to keeping detailed records of his family: his father's drinking, his mother's supposed affair with Fad's doctor., and Fad's progress in his lessons with his mother. Listening in on phone calls, opening mail and observations through his telescope are just a few of his methods, and he has the sometime misguided help of his slightly older friend Derwent.

Wickedly funny yet not lacking compassion, Denny's account of the proceedings does not neglect his own sometimes mean behaviour towards his brother or other dubious activities. The Boy Who Went Away is a touching, sad yet entertaining read. ( )
  presto | Apr 24, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553379275, Paperback)

Set in the suburbs of New Jersey in the summer of 1967, The Boy Who Went Away is a skilled debut novel that tells the story of one boy's maturation and the change a single summer visits on his troubled family. Denny is a sneak who begins the story playing domestic spy: listening in on phone conversations, steaming open the mail, and interloping on his mother, father, and his autistic brother, Fad. His Eddy Haskell of a friend Derwent helps usher Denny into an adolescent world of sex and irresponsible actions, and his spying uncovers a set of circumstances that teach him even more about adult life, namely his mother's infidelity and the looming institutionalization of his brother, who is prone to rocking in place and uttering comments like, "I want to be a wooden world that stays in one place so I can touch it whenever I want to." Together, the combination of his mother's love, his father's wits, and the simple love of a bothersome brother creates a moving story about the basic components of family life. The youthful prankishness and frank language keep the story moving and honest, and the book perfectly captures the way a single summer changes and seasons a young man's life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:21 -0400)

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