To Swallow a Toad

Peter Weston Wood, Author, P. Weston Wood, Other Dutton Books $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55611-019-1
Pete Watt is the victim of his parents' divorce and his mother's remarriage to a wealthy New Jersey judge. Pete's stepfather is brutal and domineering, his four new siblings cruelly reject him, and his only escape comes through using his fists, first on the streets and later in the New York Golden Gloves Competition. Wood, himself a former Golden Gloves finalist, does a good job in this first novel with scenes that directly evoke the boxing world: the strange camaraderie of pugilists before a fight; the inbred universe of the gym and the strange people who inhabit it; the peculiar slow motion of the fight itself. These are all drawn vividly, but chapters pertaining to Pete's family, school and love life are not so well defined. The language is highly self-referential, generally dull and often imprecise. As a result, the book's climax is unconvincing and trite, and the novel does not rise above amateur status. (June 30)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1987
Release date: 06/01/1987
Genre: Fiction
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