Total Eclipse

Tony Buchsbaum, Author Doubleday Books $16.95 (229p) ISBN 978-0-385-23979-0
In his first novel, Buchsbaum portrays Deed Smith, who at 18 has come to loathe every minute of his life. The book opens with a blast of sensationalism when Deed's best friend accidentally strangles to death in the shower while masturbating with a rope around his neck. It is Deed who discovers the body. Some pages later, another friend dies of a drug overdose. Deed, unable to lose himself in drugs and meaningless sex, and hating his inability to step out of the fast lane, attempts suicide. While he is hospitalized, he meets Kate, who also once tried to kill herself. She is the first of several women who help the young man come to terms with his life. Buchsbaum's subject, teenage suicide, is a serious and timely one. Unfortunately, he is not fully up to it. The initial chapters detailing Deed's self-absorbed behavior and the self-disgust that accompanies his drug and sexual experimentation make for grim reading. The therapy that later saves Deed is much too facile to be convincing. (March)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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