Karen Valby
September 18, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Spooner

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Pete Dexter
publisher
Grand Central Publishing
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Oh, Spooner, you make it hard to love you. Georgia boy Warren Spooner practically ripped his mother open when he came into this world — a fact the miserable woman never let him forget — and he finds trouble for the rest of his colorful life. His one real emotional tether is to his adoptive father, Calmer, a kindhearted former Navy man who can’t save the boy but loves him nonetheless. Pete Dexter, the gorgeous writer of hard beauties like Paris Trout, will make you laugh yourself into a fit one page and hold back tears the next, even though he sometimes lets his story careen off the rails (particularly in later scenes of Spooner’s adult life). Throughout this sprawling heart-thumper of a read, the writing goes down like a feast. A?

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