Courting Greta

Ramsey Hootman, Author
Ramsey Hootman. S&S/Gallery, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4767-1129-4
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 06/18/2013
Hardcover - 575 pages - 978-1-4104-6844-4
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4767-1130-0
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Hootman's terrific debut, a most unlikely romance, involves a 34-year-old crippled computer geek and a middle-aged Sue Sylvester–like gym teacher/basketball coach with a penchant for addressing him as "Mr. Cooke." Samuel Cooke joins a Northern California high school's faculty to teach programming classes after taking a 10% stake in the successful software firm that formerly employed him. Despite being warned against gym teacher Greta Cassamajor, a 46-year-old who towers over and outweighs him, he feels strangely attracted to her. Recognizing Greta's prickly nature and uncompromising attitude, Samuel nonetheless sets out to navigate a relationship with her. He has the outward social graces she lacks, but hidden underneath is fear, anger, and self-pity, particularly over the congenital birth defect that forces him to use elbow crutches and ankle braces. While Samuel faces the school's unprincipled principal, outdated computers, and difficult students, Greta proves remarkably perceptive and caring. By the end of this surprisingly sweet, if sometimes bitter, novel, Samuel has started to appreciate everyone else he has on his side, including his housekeeper, who helps him woo Greta, a nosy fellow teacher, and an old boss who advises him that "in real life, you spend a lot of time on your ass." Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (June)
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