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A Book and a Hug

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Reviewed by Administrator on March 07, 2017.
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Raised as a conservative Christian, 15-year old Paul Sutton is about to learn something about the world.  His mother decides he needs to "meet the public" and she urges him to get a job at a local Shell gas station in town for the summer. A motley cast of characters will make their way to the gas station one by one and at the ripe old age of 15 Paul is about to discover beer, marijuana, hippies, the popular kids and some questions that reach into his most deeply held beliefs.  A great coming of age story.

Ages 12-15  978-0374400224  240 pages

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com

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From Farrar, Straus and Giroux:

The summer that Paul turns sixteen his mother pushes him to take a job in town instead of just working on the family farm. “You need to meet the public,” she says, which is saying a lot for a woman deeply committed to the tightly knit religious community to which they belong. And meet the public Paul does: He meets Kirk, the angry gas station manager; Harry, a reclusive and kindly gangster; and a family of hippies passing in a yellow peace van to San Francisco. He also meets beautiful Peggy, a high school sensation, and dark-haired Dale, her onthe-
side boyfriend who is headed to Vietnam. All of them come to the station – as well as girls on summer vacation, tanned and smelling of coconut oil, and ministers from Paul’s fundamentalist church, who are worried about his soul. As the summer progresses, Paul learns the secrets of his small Minnesota town and discovers that he’s ready to have a few secrets of his own.

With richly developed characters and a flair for arresting imagery, Will Weaver tells the story of the end of one boy’s innocence, unfolding at a time when the country as a whole is undergoing a difficult, deeply disturbing coming-of-age.
 
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