Girls I Know

Douglas Trevor. SixOneSeven Books (Ingram, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-9831505-3-4
This impressive first novel grew out of an award-winning short story of the same name by University of Michigan-Ann Arbor professor Trevor (The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space). In 2001, 29-year-old Walt Steadman, a Harvard graduate school dropout, squeaks by working as an apartment building superintendent, sperm bank donor, and dry cleaner cashier, having dropped his Ph.D. dissertation on the poet Robert Lowell after developing writer’s block. Originally from Burlington, Vt., where his grandmother cares for his multiple sclerosis–stricken mother, Walt has settled into a comfortable routine that includes breakfast at the Early Bird Café, which makes him “feel connected to Boston.” As he grows friendly with a young waitress, Flora Martinez, he works up his nerve to ask her out. Meanwhile, Walt also befriends Ginger Newton, a spirited, wealthy, and somewhat entitled undergrad collecting interviews for a nonfiction book she calls Girls I Know. After local gang violence escalates into a bloody shooting at the cafe, Walt begins tutoring eleven-year-old Mercedes, a shooting victim’s daughter, while completing his dissertation on Ginger’s dime. Despite the unmistakable physical attraction he shares with Ginger, Walt must decide if they really belong together, in Trevor’s affecting and smoothly written debut novel. Agent: Miriam Altshuler, the Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/04/2013
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