Wednesday, August 08, 2007

God's Pocket by Pete Dexter

I remember Pete Dexter when he was a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News in the late seventies. His columns were always enjoyable, and I was puzzled why he gave them up to write fiction. I missed this novel then, his first, which came out in 1984. I did read Paris Trout when that came out, but, somehow I lost track of Dexter, until a journalist friend of mine, knowing I was from Philadelphia, asked me if I had ever heard of Dexter. He recommended Paper Boy, and that got me started. I now own all Dexter’s novels, and I have two more to read.
The prose is an easy read -- especially after some of the difficult things I have been reading – but Dexter writes well. I could not help finishing this soon after I started, despite the fact I was teaching a “grading-intensive” summer class, which limits my reading time.
I have been a fan of Carl Hiaasen for some time [haven’t read anything by him lately, but I have a couple of his novels on my teettering TBR pile]. I also like another old time Philadelphia journalist-turned-novelist, Christopher Morley. I think I see a pattern here.
Anyway, Dexter’s first novel is a lot of fun for someone who knows Philly well. He moves Holy Redeemer Hospital to South Philadelphia. It is actually in a suburb, Huntingdon Valley; my son was born there, and he renames his old paper the Daily Times. But I loved moving through the neighborhoods, streets, and highways in and around Philly with Mickey and Richard. A great story, with great characters – simply a good read.
--Chiron, 8/8/07

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