Crum

Lee Maynard, Author
Lee Maynard, Author Washington Square Press $6.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-64842-8
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
With its preoccupation with adolescent sex, and a plethora of obscene and scatological language, silly pranks and fisticuffs, this inaugural novel in the Washington Square Press original fiction line will only appeal to readers with sophomoric tastes. Maynard, 51, sets his first effort, a 1950s coming-of-age story, in his native Crum, W. Va., ``located deep in the bowels of the Appalachians, on the bank of the Tug River, the urinary tract of the mountains.'' The nameless narrator repetitiously cites his desire to leave this mining town, which was ``a zero. A blank. Nothing''rife with poverty and ignorance and bereft of indoor toilets. ``We would try anything to relieve the monotony of living in Crum,'' he says, and the novel details his antics during his final year in the dump, which he flees after completing high school. He and his buddies dynamite outhouses, rob delivery trucks, expose themselves, witness pig butcherings and pick fights with Kentucky teens. There is much potential material here in the plight of the narrator, a lonely orphan who lives in a shed tacked onto the back of a cousin's shack. But Maynard's characters are inscrutable to themselves (``Don't ask me why I did it, I just did,'' says the hero when he insults a friend) and, ultimately, to the reader. (June)
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