Kick the Can

Jim Lehrer, Author, James Lehrer, Author
Jim Lehrer, Author, James Lehrer, Author Putnam Publishing Group $17.95 (253p) ISBN 978-0-399-13350-3
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 00/00/0000
One should not look for deep implications in this diverting tale by TV anchor Lehrer. We are back in 1949, in Kansas, with ""One-Eyed Mack,'' son of the best highway patrolman in the whole state and an incurable romantic in the vein of Tom Sawyer. After he loses an eye in the child's game of the book's title, Mack has to give up his ``trooper dreams'' of derring-do in his father's footsteps and his baseball fantasies as well. Once graduated from junior college, he forms a Sawyer-like ambition to become a ``pirate'' and sets out for the territoriesin this case, Galveston, Tex. What follows is a series of picaresque adventures involving a number of other upper- and lower-case characters, such as Marshall M. Mooney, the Map Man; Lillian, ``The Come Lady''; and Tom Bell Pepper Bowen; not to mention Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys and his entourage. The narrative is a paean to an age of alleged American innocence, an exercise in nostalgia for a time when Stan ``the Man'' Musial and the Cowboy King claimed heroic stature. Lehrer makes Mack's wide-eyed credulity quite funny, and the other characters, all larger than life, have the bizarre appeal of figures in a circus side show. And with tongue in cheek, Lehrer has Mack discover that fame can come in unsought, unexpected ways. Perhaps this larky slice-of-Americana will take readers' minds off the ominous items on network news. Literary Guild alternate. (May)
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