Thursday, October 10, 2013

Until They Bring the Streetcars Back by Stanley West

By StanleyGordon West, published in 1997, 274 pages, a well written, fiction,  based in St. Paul, MN in 1949, when the replacement of streetcars by buses was imminent.  Another very quick read and a great book by the Author.  This is fiction, the life story of Cal Gant through late adolescence.  His father is a man set in his ways, a veteran of WWII who drives streetcars with pride.  There is a bit of whimsy  when the description of  hanging onto the street cars happens as the teens amuse themselves.  There is the interlude with Gretchen Luttermann whom Cal befriends in a strange pitiful alliance and her  world with her mysterious  but brutal father.    But over all, it is a tale of  choices one makes in life and  paying the consequences, or living through the results of ones actions.  I would have liked a different outcome for Cal, another chance, a bit more time. Some of life's events  can overtake us, and this fiction is  in that way a tear jerker.

The opening lines caught my attention immediately,  "If I'd never run into Gretchen Luntermann I wouldn't have landed in that crummy jail.  And better still, her father wouldn't be trying to kill me.  I know it sounds pretty normal that a girl's father wants to kill some kid, but he really wanted to kill me and she wasn't even my girl  and it kept getting all mixed up when I tried to explain it."

 I enjoyed this book and am fortunate that a friend loaned it to me.  I give it 4 ****.