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Life Arts    H4'ed 8/8/19

A Summer with Freeman: A Rollicking Read by OEN's Own Dan Geery

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Dan Geery's first novel, A Summer with Freeman, is terrific book -- so well written. Its sparkling and hilarious prose seemed like the work of a veteran novelist, not that of a first timer. The dialog is funny and realistic. And the whole story about fourteen-year-old Joey Simpson and his first summer with a new friend, fifteen-year-old Freddie Freeman, made me recall my own coming of age as I'm sure it does for most of Dan's readers. This is movie-quality work.

Set in the 1950s, the book has all the elements most of us recall:

  • Unhappiness at school
  • Summers with time to do the unthinkable
  • Building forts and get-aways from parents and younger siblings
  • Experiencing bullying
  • Trying to be tough, despite it all
  • Overriding interests in comic books, girls and sex and early dabbling in cigarettes and liquor
  • Fascination with cars and driving
  • Key friendships with bigger, tougher, older, and wiser guys who were "wilder" and devil-may-care
  • Early crushes and idealizations of their objects, who often turn out to be the opposite of what the crushes fancied
  • General confusion before the mysteries of life

For me, the most unforgettable moments included:

  • Narrow escapes from the local bully and his gang especially in a furious bike-get-away and a concluding showdown at the local swimming hole
  • Freeman's wild ride in the convertible he vengefully "borrowed" from the bully himself
  • An encounter with a pretty, flirtatious waitress in the local diner
  • Joey's painful meetings with the women of his dreams, Maggie and Anabelle
  • Joey and Freeman's downing two bottles of gin in the woods
  • Catholic Joey's confession to an overly-inquisitive priest

I must admit that I once tried my hand at writing book-length fiction. And, according to my guide, Writing a Novel and Getting it Published, it transformed me into a successful novelist at least according to the book's definition. It said a successful novelist is "any writer who has completed a project generally recognizable as a novel." By those standards, yes: I made it. However, that's where my success concluded. My novel turned out to be stodgy, moralistic, and filled with "telling" rather than "showing."

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Daniel Geery's first novel, A Summer with Freeman, has none of that. It's a rollicking read and an evocative entertaining tale that will have you smiling, if not laughing, from beginning to end.

 

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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Retired in 2014, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 40 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program.Mike blogs (more...)
 

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3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments  Post Comment


Mike Rivage-Seul

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(Member since Apr 9, 2010), 44 fans, 263 articles, 911 comments, 3 diaries
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Loved the book. Lots of fun!

Submitted on Thursday, Aug 8, 2019 at 10:00:02 AM

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Daniel Geery

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My shameless promotion: $2.99 on Kindle, 13 reviews akin to this, all 5 stars. Two from OEN readers that I know of.

Submitted on Thursday, Aug 8, 2019 at 3:14:11 PM

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I have not read the book, but because it is Daniel Geery, I can give the book a thumbs up for being really good. I give the book my six-star promotion, $2.99 on Kindle, 13 reviews akin to this, all 5 stars. And now, a 6 star review also. My review just coincidentally, is exactly the same as the review given by Mike Rivage-Seul above. :)


Submitted on Friday, Aug 9, 2019 at 6:25:39 PM

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