Suburban Guerrillas

Joseph Freda, Author
Joseph Freda, Author W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-393-03768-5
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-87451-763-7
Paperback - 228 pages - 978-0-393-33262-9
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Urbanites contemplating a move to the country might heed this debut novel, which implies that the suburbs numb the soul. The narrative, set in small-town New Hampshire, opens with a rousing account of trucker Ed Jacques, who boyishly anticipates the springtime ``Blessing of the Lawn Mower Fleet.'' A powerful mower and manicured lawn aren't family-man Ed's only obsessions, though. He also has a secret crush on flight attendant Susie Stevens, which will cost him dearly as he heads down the home stretch in the riding-mower race. Susie, meanwhile, isn't interested in Ed; taking a swipe at classic Americana, she's having an affair with the Good Humor man--who, for his part, laments that his wife is a notorious flirt. And the recently wed Ray and Marisse Vann go on long drives--in the nude--for excitement. Marriage woes aside, these characters' main worry is the coldhearted developer who tears down a wooded area to make way for cheaply built homes, prompting the formation of the ``suburban guerrilla'' squad (``Plotting revolution over a designer beer.... Power to the people, and pass the jalapeno dip,'' Ray muses). Freda spares his characters from tragedy, and so, with only minor misfortune, life goes blandly on. His tone is lively but patronizing; when one couple forsakes New Hampshire for a Boston condo, it seems as if his heart has belonged to the big city all along. Author tour. (May)
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