Outside Providence

Peter Farrelly, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $7.95 (205p) ISBN 978-0-87113-222-2
After growing up in Pawtucket, a blue-collar Rhode Island town, Timothy Dunphy is shipped off to an Episcopal prep school called Cornwall Academy in Connecticut. It is 1974, Dunphy is 16, and the game is to cut up as much as possible without getting caught. But amid drugged-out days and alcohol-soaked nights, the appealing Dunphy struggles with his two vividly depicted milieus: in gritty Pawtucket, his father continues to be abusive, and a close friend, Mousy Town, dies in a mysterious car accident, while back at school, vindictive administrators pile on punishments, former girlfriend S. D. Stuart commits suicide, and Dunphy tries to stay afloat among his spoiled, backstabbing fellow students. The one bright spot is Jane Weston, his girlfriend, but even their romance shatters, weeks before graduation. Things pick up for a bittersweet ending as Dunphyhaving learned the hard way not to trust his classmate, the charming Jack Raffertyadmits his love for his father and agrees to be friends with Jane. From the slang-filled, first-person narrative to the boarding-school atmosphere, even to details like a love interest named Jane, this debut is reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye, and, like Catcher, seems most appropriate for adolescents and college students. While Farrelly has written a humorous, sensitive and quite promising coming-of-age story, adults are likely to become impatient with the incessant profanity, drugs and alcohol, and the somewhat simplistic and obvious aspects. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 212 pages - 978-0-385-49058-0
Ebook - 124 pages - 978-0-307-53949-6
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