cover image And You Know You Should Be Glad: A True Story of Lifelong Friendship

And You Know You Should Be Glad: A True Story of Lifelong Friendship

Bob Greene, . . Morrow, $24.95 (325pp) ISBN 978-0-06-088193-1

Bestselling author Greene (Duty ) has filled a shelf with two dozen books, including his 1993 novel All Summer Long , while appearing as a broadcast journalist (Nightline ) and writing for newspapers (the Chicago Tribune ) and magazines (Life ). Now he looks back on his youth in Bexley, Ohio (pop. 13,000), where he and his four pals grew up together, calling themselves ABCDJ (for Allen, Bob, Chuck, Dan and Jack). Their lives' paths diverged, but they always stayed in contact; in 2004, the news that Jack was terminally ill reunited them. Then and now, the group used jokes "to hide our feelings—to pretend to feel nothing... [which] seemed much better than the alternative." Greene met Jack in kindergarten, and they remained best friends for life. Remembering people and places they shared, the two revisit old haunts, discovering that their beloved Toddle House, where they once went for late-night chocolate pie, is now a Pizza Plus. Greene's repetitive, rambling free associations recall everything from his Halloween costume and old songs to ice cream parlors, state fairs and clothing fads. Unfortunately, the author's dusty attic of lost Americana is cluttered with clichés, nostalgia and overly sentimental yearnings. (May 1)