This is a well-written and entertaining book with many a good and thoughtful point to make about love, loss, communication, finding your tribe, finding your place in life, moving on, etc. Readers who love movies or have ever worked in a movie theater will especially enjoy it.
At the age of 17, Ethan (“Wendy”) has become the default manager of a worn-out but still-hanging-in-there movie theater near the edge of a university campus in Minnesota. His recently-deceased dad, a film studies professor, instilled in his only child a great love for the movies. The place is a refuge for Ethan as he struggles to deal with his loss and move forward in life.
Joining him are several other people of varying ages and backgrounds who work the ticket and concession counters, run the projection equipment, and play the organ for showings of older films. Also inhabiting the theater is a huge rat called Brando, who is steadily eating his way through the stored candy inventory. Because of the theater’s proximity to a restaurant and his practice of scuttling about, Brando provides an excuse for a real estate developer to put into play the threatened demise of the building. Deepening the plot is the flight of Ethan’s former best friend from a promising career in Hollywood to hunker down in her old family home. Protests, romance, and a film festival ensue. The ending is satisfying (but will not be revealed here). The characters are well-drawn, interesting, and generally sympathetic people.
The book has a few sexual references but they are of no real consequence. There is coarse language and profanity which is guaranteed to offend Christians. I wish I knew why writers who desire to illuminate and extol the finer points of humanity feel it appropriate to do so using language that is sexually demeaning or that picks on Jesus Christ, who, you know, was a GOOD GUY after all. Sheesh. (I think the Good Book has something to say about good and evil proceeding from the same mouth.) Also, hey, an editor should have corrected the “wild hair” metaphor to “wild hare” (as in “chasing . . . “). However, I do thank the author for sending me to Google to differentiate between the use of “to rifle” and “to riffle.” I was all set to call him on that but got educated instead.
Because of the language, I would not spend public library dollars on this, but then that’s me.
Categories: Death and Grieving, Depression, Grief, Navigating through High School, Offensive Language in YA Literature, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships, Political Activism, Social Media, Theatre & Film