Starbuck O’Dwyer had a mission in writing High School Dance. In his preface, he writes that he had made, in list form, things he wanted his son to know. He wanted to share life experiences so that the younger one might not make the same mistakes. Good luck with that. Later, after looking at his list, he thought he could flesh out the list a bit and turn each of his thinking points into stories. Here is the result. Twelve chapters of reflection on surviving from grade seven through senior high school.
There are chapters on the music of the time, starting with Pink Floyd. There is more than one chapter on competitiveness, winning, and losing. Most of them revolve around tennis. There are tales of heartbreak, puppy love, crushes, and immense romantic disappointment. Refreshingly, there are no tales of initial sexual conquests. That is sort of logical if we remember he is writing a book for a son to read. Attempts at a first kiss don’t count. There is a tale of an unusual after prom party. And one about trust. That chapter is about a parent’s trust of a child. But the theme of parent-child trust runs throughout all chapters.
There are sample chapters of How to Raise a Good Kid at the end of this publication. Two chapters The Value of Fathers and Love and Marriage impressed me more than the novel they are attached to. Which means I have something else to purchase and add to the TBR list. Love and Marriage is especially poignant and could possibly bring tears to the eyes of many readers. I guess that is a warning.
There is a lot of understated humor throughout. No violence (except for throwing some tennis rackets). No vulgarity (maybe a few hints at words with things like %&*@ inserted). No sex (except the first kiss). No excessive obeisance to the PC police.
It was a refreshing read, something my son can read, and I liked it.