Reviews for Spooner

by Pete Dexter

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Warren Spooner bears an uncanny resemblance to his creator, National Book Award winner Dexter. Like Dexter, Spooner was raised in Georgia, worked as a newspaper reporter in Philadelphia, and was almost beaten to death in a bar fight. More conclusively, Spooner is also the author of a revisionist Western titled Deadwood (1986). Dexter follows his alter ego from childhood to semiretirement on Whidbey Island in Washington. This hilarious fictional memoir has little structure or plot and even less romance. Spooner devotes entire chapters to his favorite dogs but manages only a few dismissive sentences for the shadowy "Mrs. Spooner." Bar fights, bad divorces, car repossessions-the man's life is a 500-page country-and-western song. The glue that holds it all together is the relationship between Spooner and his stepfather, a cashiered naval officer aptly named Calmer. Verdict There is too much material here, but it is difficult to see where it could be cut. Dexter's prose is razor sharp, and every page has at least one zinger. The Georgia section in particular will remind readers of the great Harry Crews. Don't miss this.-Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Dexter's sprawling account of the life of Warren Spooner may be classified as fiction, but it incorporates plenty from the author's own history. True, false, it doesn't much matter this gregarious curriculum vitae is just the ticket for those who like their comic realism served up with a side of Garpian absurdity. As a child, Spooner is outshined by siblings bursting with intellect while he bursts with urges: scab-eating, masturbating, and a compulsion to piss in neighbors' shoes that earns him the alias the Fiend of Vincent Heights. From this faintly repulsive youth, Dexter traces his hero through a stab at high-school baseball heroism and then into his career as a writer. The emotional core, however, is Spooner's relationship with his cautious yet luckless stepfather, Calmer. A once-promising ship commander whose botching of a sea burial began his slide toward mediocrity, Calmer is the steady path that forever eludes Spooner. But as both men grow older, their emotional fumbling toward each other becomes downright moving. A big, satisfying maybe-memoir.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2009 Booklist