Saturday, January 3, 2009

Until They Bring the Streetcars Back

I recently finished Stanley Gordon West's novel, "Until They Bring the Streetcars Back," which is set right here in the Minnneapolis/St. Paul area. West is actually from St. Paul so it was fun reading a novel by a local author. I always enjoy reading books set in places I have lived or visited. This is dorky, but I get excited when the author mentions some landmark or street that I have been on! So since the entire book was set where I currently live, I had a lot of 'I've totally been there!' moments! The book was written in 1997, but I had to check the copyright date as it read like it had been written in the 1940's. The book was set in the 1949 and really used the language of that time period so it's easy for the reader to feel like it was written back then. The author graduated from high school in 1950, so the use of language was very authentic since he has grown up during those times.

I really enjoyed this book. It was something completely different from what I've been reading lately and was very engaging from the start. Like I said, it's set in St. Paul, MN in 1949 and tells the story of Cal Grant, a senior at St. Paul Central (which is the High School that West graduated from). Cal West's family kind of reminded me of the family in "A Christmas Story." Cal has a somewhat strained relationship with his father who doesn't really seem to understand Cal. Cal is a good kid who listens to his parents, does pretty well in school, and is quite the athlete. He's on the road to becoming the first child to attend college in his family's history. Then he meets Gretchen Luttermann -a strange, impoverished girl in his class who is badly beaten by her father. As Cal learns more about the happenings in Gretchen's house, he decides that he has to do something to help this girl out. The chain of events that occur end up landing Cal in jail.

I don't want to give anything away so won't go into any more details! The book is worth checking out, though. It's pretty amazing to see how selfless this Cal character is and how he jeopardizes his future and the approval of his parents to save this girl from a terrible situation.

Happy New Year, everyone!

1 comment:

Abby said...

Yay!! I've read this book!! Haha... I always peek at your book reviews in awe, wishing I would read more...and I got excited to see a book that I've actually read. Many of the books by this author are great, actually. You should check out "Wild Horses"...I think that's what it is called, anyways. It's not about horses though, (I hate horses....)