Do-Over!

Robin Hemley, Author
Robin Hemley, Author . Little, Brown $23.99 (319p) ISBN 978-0-316-02060-2
Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Open Ebook - 199 pages - 978-0-316-14904-4
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-05326-6
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When Hemley, a writing professor at the University of Iowa, decides that he wants to do over some of the experiences he flubbed as a child, he isn't just dreaming. The 48-year-old father of three makes a list of times and places he'd like to revisit, including kindergarten, the prom and summer camp, doggedly pursuing all the contacts and background checks necessary to “storm the walls of childhood” as an adult. Surprisingly, the kids and teachers he meets along the way accept him in his overgrown state; some even express envy. The complex logistics of Hemley's quest—including endless e-mails and phone calls to convince others that he's legit—can be tedious, but Hemley is endearing, funny and more than a bit courageous (the night before his first day of kindergarten, he's too nervous to sleep.) As he tackles his part in the school play or sits with the popular kids at lunch, Hemley philosophically ponders the lessons of the past. While some experiences don't pan out quite the way he hopes (after crashing his car into the ACT center, he ditches the idea of a standardized test repeat), others fall serendipitously into place (a crush from high school now works as the school's alumni director and agrees to be his prom date). A big kid at heart, the author draws readers in with just the right mix of humor and tenderness. 22 b&w photos. (May)

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