Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sentimental Journey and a (sort of) Book Review



I will be leaving soon for my trip to my junior high school reunion in my hometown, Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have no idea what to expect from the reunion as I have never been to one before. I do, however,  expect that the trip back to Tulsa will be something of a Sentimental Journey. I will be staying with my cousin and his wife who live on the street where I grew up. I, in fact, spent many hours of my childhood in the house where they now live. I expect I will spend some time just driving around the area seeing what has changed and what is still the same, and giving some thought to how I have changed and what is still the same.

One of the things that has sort of surprised me about myself in looking toward the reunion is the occasional spark of teenage angst that has come back to me. I can't say that my teen years were wonderful, but I also can't say they were awful, so I'm not sure where these feelings are coming from. It may be that I just have a bit of anxiety about what it will be like walking alone into a room full of people that I haven't seen for (gulp) nearly 50 years. All in all, I am expecting it to be fun, interesting and hopefully a catharsis for my latent teenage angst.

One of the fun things about the timing of my trip is that a novel, titled A Map of Tulsa, written by my cousin's son was just released this week. The book is set in Tulsa and is a coming of age story told by the main character that begins when he comes back home to Tulsa for the summer after his first year of college.


I just got the book from Amazon so I haven't read it yet to be able to give a personal review, but the following, an excerpt from a  Publisher's Weekly review, makes me look forward to reading the book.

If Catcher in the Rye has lost its raw clout for recent generations of Internet-suckled American youth, here is a coming-of-age novel to replace it. Instead of running away, the pretentious narrator of this updated version of Salinger’s bildungsroman travels headlong back home to claim the town where he came of age. After his first year at a never-named college back East (bearing a striking resemblance to Harvard, Lytal’s own alma mater), Jim Praley returns to Tulsa. On his first visit to a local bar, he reconnects with a woman he went to high school with, who invites him to a birthday party. There he meets the beguiling Adrienne Booker, muse of the local teen set, a rich high school dropout who lives alone in her family’s downtown penthouse. In spite of a vow to spend the summer reading classic literature, Jim falls hard for Adrienne, spending days on end teaching her the art history he remembers from his freshman course and watching her paint. After that mythic summer, and a chapter chronicling Jim’s brief literary career in New York, a motorcycle accident draws Jim back to Tulsa to witness Adrienne’s ruination firsthand. Although the doomed girl is the focus of Jim’s obsession, the strength of this debut novel is Lytal’s evocation of place: Tulsa through Jim’s eyes is tenderly revealed. There is magic here if the reader has experienced any such provincial city, for the prose provokes remembered images, acutely vivid. 

It will be the perfect book for me to read on my Sentimental Journey back to Tulsa.

14 comments:

  1. I was 6 months old when I left Tulsa...I have few memories of it.

    Enjoy your reunion and the book.

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  2. I admire you for going to the reunion. I probably wouldn't....
    And I hope you have a lot of fun and meet some old friends.
    ((Hugs))

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  3. Wow, what a wonderful review for his debut novel. Congrats to him. Hope you have fun at the reunion despite your angst. Lol.

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  4. You're gonna have a great time - I just KNOW it!! You're gonna be amazed at how HUGE Tulsa is now. Be sure to go down Brookside/Peoria, I think it's the least changed area of the entire city. And if you get the chance be sure to stop by Webber's and have a mug of Root beer.

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  5. Ignore my reply to your comment -- now I know where you are going and why you'll be away at Easter. But you will be with family.

    I bet you will have a wonderful time. You'll find people you liked that are so-so and people you really didn't know or care for who are amazing -- and some in-between. And you all have lives. Look at yours -- it's great! I'm eager to hear more!

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  6. Hope you have a fabulous time! Can't wait to hear all about it!

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  11. Hello Jeanie, I believe you will have a wonderful time going back home and seeing so many familiar faces and places. Congrats on your cousin's son being published. Looks like a good read.

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  12. I have never been to any sort of school reunion either. I hope you have a blast and really enjoy yourself. The book sounds interesting too. Perhaps you can read some of it on the journey to Tulsa!

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  13. I hope you have had, or are still having, a wonderful time. I can't wait to hear all about it.

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  14. Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

    I went to my first two high school reunions, but the second one left me very frustrated--I felt like I had changed a lot since I was a teenager, but others couldn't recognize that. I decided to pass on the third, which was five years ago. We'll see what happens when I get the invitation for the next one.

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