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Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin

Skipped Parts (edition 2010)

by Tim Sandlin

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378542,304 (4.06)3
Title:Skipped Parts
Authors:Tim Sandlin
Info:Sourcebooks Landmark (2010), Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:read-2011, read-2014, fiction, 5-stars, top-10

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Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin



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I purchased Skipped Parts on December 17, 2011. I know this because Amazon told me so. It also told me that I shipped it to my mom's house, which probably means that I first attempted to read it over winter break. Four years ago.

Then it moved with me twice (from Wisconsin to New Jersey, and then again within the state of New Jersey), and I really forgot about it until I had to find a book I'd started and never finished for my 2015 reading challenge. I don't abandon many books (as you can see by my "abandoned" shelf on Goodreads), so this was a tough one.

I vaguely remembered reading this book. Or trying to, I guess. I didn't even abandon it because I hated it. I don't really recall, but I probably had to go back to school in the middle of the book. And I probably forgot it at my mom's house. I hate leaving books unfinished, so I'm glad it's done now. Almost four years later.

Skipped Parts is the story of Sam Callahan, a thirteen-year-old boy who, along with his mother, is exiled to middle-of-nowhere Wyoming by his wealthy grandfather. Sam and his mother, Lydia, are fully disappointed with their new home. The weather's awful, the people are worse, and they can only get one station on their television. The one shining light for Sam is his classmate Maurey, a beautiful and actually intelligent young woman who suggests that the two of them "practice" for their future by experimenting with sex.

Lydia is not only ok with Sam and Maurey's new relationship, but she actually encourages it, going so far as to give them sex tips. Her one rule: the fun stops when Maurey gets her first period. But who would have imagined that Maurey would get pregnant first?

What follows is a book full of Sam and Maurey's ups and downs, the development of their relationship as they come of age, and a number of (often ridiculous) plot twists. The characters are all interesting, in a love them or hate them kind of way. I think I related the most to Sam and his blind devotion to Maurey, even when she was being absolutely awful to him. I would like to be surprised by Lydia's attitude, but I'm not. I'd also like to be surprised by the idea of thirteen-year-olds experimenting with sex, but I'm not. Although this book is set in the early 1960's, it's relevant to today's society of Teen Mom entertainment and parents who couldn't care less that their babies are having babies.

So here's the verdict: Skipped Parts is neither the best or worst book in recent memory. I have no strong feelings one way or the other. I was compelled to keep reading in hopes of a happy ending that I knew I wasn't going to get. Above all, I'm glad to have finally finished a book I started almost four years ago. ( )
  Sara.Newhouse | Feb 11, 2016 |
I knew going in that, based on the reviews, this was a "love it or hate it" novel. Fortunately, I came in firmly on the side of love.

And that's kind of what this book is about - love. At least, love from the point of view of a 13-year old boy being raised by a woman who can't take care of herself. First, though, the title: Skipped Parts refers to... well, it's best explained by this quote:

"In books people often kissed before things were either skipped or talked about so metaphorically no one knew what was going on. It seemed to be a one, two, three ritual—kiss, skip the weird stuff, fall in love."

And the education of Sam's life happens while seeking out the answer to what happens in the parts they skipped over.

Sam's mother is Lydia, and while she'll never be Mother of the Year, she does love him, and he accepts her as she is. Lydia and Sam get sent to GroVont because of another of Lydia's misadventures, of which we never quite find out the details. Lydia's father, Casper Callahan, holds the purse strings and so they do as he says.

It's rough for them there at first, but then life happens, in more way than one. The story is told from Sam's POV, and the reader quickly discovers that Sam is cynical (and frighteningly astute) about the things he's had experience with, and extremely innocent and naive about the things no one has yet told him about. It makes for a charming and slightly scary combination.

The story is sometimes heartwarming, often heartbreaking. I like Sam, and Lydia, and Maurey, Dot, Hank and all the other characters in this book, and I plan to seek out the second book in the series ASAP. ( )
  CWatkinsNash | Sep 23, 2013 |
How is it possible I haven't read this author until now? What a treat!

This novel is poignant, funny, shocking, and even heart-breaking at some turns. The setting is 1963, and the story revolves around 13 year old Sam Callahan and his nutty, quirky, unabashedly neglectful mother, Lydia. Lydia's father is a wealthy southern businessman who is tired of her tantrums, and sends the two off to Wyoming as punishment. There Sam needs to assimilate into a small-town life unlike anything he has experienced before.

Sam befriends Maurey, an equally precocious local 6th grader. The two set off to figure out what happens in the novels they have read between the "kiss" and "the next morning" in the books they are reading... "the skipped parts" as it were. All the while they are dealing with the things that most other 6th graders deal with, as well as the dysfunction in both of their families.

Written with Sam as narrator, the adolescent voice is what makes this book feel so authentic. Looking at the small-town cliques and hypocrisy from the eyes of a sixth grader elicits an emotion much different than understanding these same things from an adult point of view. I literally laughed out loud repeatedly, and at one point even broke out the tissues.

Tim Sandlin has created some of the most memorable characters ever in this book. Certainly offbeat, and occasionally revolting, it is a truly wild coming-of-age novel, that just keeps you rooting for Sam to triumph over (and sometimes because of) his situation.

Highly recommended! ( )
1 vote TheBoltChick | Aug 28, 2011 |
Just recently, I was thinking of Tim Sandlin’s novel Skipped Parts. I can’t remember why. I first read the novel years ago, and even though I’ve had the two subsequent novels in the GroVont Trilogy sitting on my book shelf for years, I’ve never read them. It’s a common problem, as I am not one to read books in a series back-to-back no matter how wonderful they are. Then, I wait so long that I’ve forgotten the first.

Perhaps it’s an omen that I discovered Skipped Parts available for free on my Kindle today. Snatched that puppy right up! So, I just opened it up and peaked inside for old time’s sake. It was like falling down the rabbit hole. I was sucked in with a tidal pull I did not have the power to resist. Seven or eight hours later, I’ve barely moved. And you know what? It may have been even better the second time around!

Y’all know what this is about, right? It’s the coming of age story of two precocious 13-year-olds in GroVont, Wyoming. The novel opens in 1963, shortly before the Kennedy assassination. Sam and his mother are new to town. After a rocky start, he connects with pretty, young Maurey from his class. They’re both readers and full of curiosity, not least of which about the “skipped parts” of novels. In other words, about sex. With the full knowledge and consent of Lydia—a mother unlike any other I’ve seen in all of literature—the two explore their sexuality and deal with the consequences.

While certainly drama-filled, the thing to know about this book is that it’s a comedy. And the deep humor comes from the extraordinary characters that Sandlin has created. I defy you to not fall in love with them. They’re all so profoundly flawed and so very, very human. Sure I remembered the plot of the book, but I’d forgotten about warm Dot, the waitress at the diner. And I couldn’t possibly remember all the facets of Lydia and the complexity of her relationship with Sam.

A plot-driven novel is a letdown the second time around, but this is the perfect example of a character-driven novel getting richer. Not only with time, but—quite frankly—with the increased maturity and sophistication of the reader. Just imagine how good it will be if I read it again in another 20 years! For now, my intentions to move on to the second book, Sorrow Floats, are reaffirmed. And excellent news, Sandlin fans… Fifteen years after the conclusion of this trilogy, the author has returned to these characters with his latest title, Lydia. I have all sorts of reading to look forward to.

* Oh, and if you have an e-reader, rush and snatch this wonderful novel up for free before April 11, 2011. ( )
  suetu | Apr 2, 2011 |
seriously one of my all time favorite books. ( )
1 vote irreverent_reader | Feb 2, 2008 |
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Book description
Banished to the hinterlands of Wyoming, rebellious Lydia Callahan and her thirteen-year-old son Sam have no choice but to cope. But while Lydia drinks and talks to the moose head on the wall, Sam finds a friend in local girl Maurey Pierce.
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Banished to the early 1960's hinterlands of Wyoming, rebellious Lydia Callahan and her 13-year-old son Sam have no choice but to cope. But while Lydia drinks and talks to the moose head on the wall, Sam finds a friend in local girl Maurey Pierce.

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