cover image Full Service

Full Service

Will Weaver, . . FSG, $17 (232pp) ISBN 978-0-374-32485-8

Weaver once again makes the most ofthe rural Midwestern settings and quiet moral dilemmas he used to such strong effect in his baseball trilogy (Striking Out ; Farm Team ; Hard Ball ) in this intimate coming-of-age novel set in 1965 Minnesota. Farm boy Paul Sutton, who narrates, has been sheltered by his strict, religious parents. He gets his first opportunity to "meet the public" when he takes a job at a Shell filling station in the nearby town of Hawk Bend the summer he turns 16. Paul's horizons are indeed broadened by the people with whom he works (fatherly Mr. Davies, the owner, and Kirk, the womanizing manager), and the author crafts gem-like vignettes of his encounters with the locals and tourists who frequent the service station (one especially memorable exchange is with a woman driving a Mercedes coupe whose husband has just left her). Paul befriends a retired gangster, becomes involved in a love triangle among three recent high-school graduates and hears differing opinions about America's involvement in the Vietnam War. Perhaps Paul is most influenced by a family of hippies, who end up staying on the Suttons' farm after their bus breaks down. Exposed to new values and beliefs, Paul begins to question what he has been taught by his parents. Despite the story's setting in the past, Paul's quiet rebellion, fueled by a variety of profound encounters, expresses universal truths about growing pains, teen desires and new insights he has gained. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)