professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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ABOVE AND BEYOND

Once power was restored late this morning, we all dove back into our books. I finished Will Weaver's FULL SERVICE, a powerful novel set in the 1960s (I refuse to call this historical fiction as I was alive and well then, but kids will think it historical). This is the summer Paul will turn 16, get his driver's license, and work outside of the family farm for the first time. His job at the local Shell service station is one that will change Paul's outlook on life and love and religion and war and so many other aspects of being alive. Paul has led a sheltered life, his family part of a nondenominational religious group that basically keeps to itself. So life at the service station is an eye opener for Paul. He meets a former gangster, helps two people meet surreptitiously, witnesses the good and bad that is part of all humanity. At the end of the summer, Paul is not quite ready to "come to the water," but he does realize the need he has for more in his life. Weaver never takes the easy road here. There is no condemnation of religion or of the darker side of humanity. People are presented as multi-faceted, an amalgam of good and bad--in other words as flesh and blood creatures that we all are. Paul gains experience in dealing with people outside of his hitherto confined world of family and farm and religion without rejecting any of those precious things already a part of his life. Despite its setting in the 60s, there is much here that should speak to contemporary teens who are doing the same sort of searching, soul and otherwise, as is Paul. I have been huge fan of Weaver since his first novel, STRIKING OUT, and am always happy to see a new novel by this talented guy.
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