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Friday, December 8, 2006


Taft by Ann Patchett

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

April 11, 2003

This is an entertaining, albeit lightweight book. It's like an R-rated after school special where black bar manager John Nickel gets involved in the lives of two white teenagers from rural Tennessee. The older of the two kids, Fay, develops a crush on John while working at the bar and the younger, Carl, uses the bar to deal drugs. Ultimately there is a clash between John and Carl that winds up in a botched robbery attempt.

The good thing about this book is that it's told in the first-person and narrator John is interesting enough to listen to. I can't attest to the validity of his "voice", though I'm never a big fan of using a lot of dialects because it can make things harder for people to read.

There are a couple things about this book that I didn't like. First, the book starts to cut between John's story and bits and pieces of Fay and Carl's father, Levon Taft. This happens almost randomly and at one point the "Taft" section is a single sentence. It took me by surprise when this first happened, as I didn't see a whole lot of reason for it. It does add a little understanding about Fay and Carl and ultimately John learns from Taft's demise.

The book ends too quickly, without any issues really being wrapped up. I suppose the book is pretty good because I did want to see how things played out for John and the Tafts. It's almost never good in my mind to leave readers wondering what happened. It leaves us without a sense of closure.

"Taft" is a short read, but a good one. If you're looking for some light reading, I say go ahead and check it out.

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