Peter Leroy struggles to win the affections of the toothsome Patti Fiorenza while keeping his mother’s hopes and his mother’s boat afloat.
Ella Leroy dreams of escaping the dreary routine of her 1950s wife-and-mom life. Without telling her husband, she enlists her son Peter and his locally-notorious girlfriend Patti in a scheme to buy a run-down clamboat and re-invent it as an elegant cruising vessel for summer people in the bayside town of Babbington, Long Island. But after they’ve bought the boat, Peter discovers that it is slowly sinking.
“[A] bittersweet tale of adolescence recollected in tranquility. . . . Glorious stuff.”
“Raucous, wise, and great fun, this is simply not to be missed.”
Nancy Pearl, Booklist
“The reader feels flattered and privileged to be invited to join Kraft’s remarkable, ongoing dance of time and memory.”
Richard Gehr, Newsday
“A hilarious riff on Don Quixote, on the desire for fame, the need for success, the power of fantasy.”
Barbara Fisher, Boston Globe
“Provocative, poignant and deeply satisfying . . . especially in lyrical passages that epitomize the secret dreams and yearnings of a soul in the making, a fool for beauty.”
Frederic Koeppel, Memphis Commercial Appeal
“Fascinating and sophisticated.”
Jennifer Reese, The New York Times Book Review
“The best description of sex appeal anywhere, ever.”
Peter Jon Shuler
A tinted review in adult Forecasts indicates a book that's of exceptional importance to our readers, but hasn't received a starred or boxed review.INFLATING A DOGEric Kraft. Picador USA, $25 (256p) Kraft's eighth installment (after Leaving Small's Hotel) in the winsome series featuring the charming Peter Leroy is a cheeky, amusing look at the nature of the entrepreneurial dream. Narrated by the now adult Peter, the story takes place during his adolescence, as his mother, Ella, gets yet another idea in an endless string of outlandish business schemes. This time her fantasy is to establish a cruise line for the bay near their hometown of Babbington, Del. Despite her husband's smirking disapproval, she buys a clam boat and, with the help of Peter and his sexy girlfriend, Patti, begins to fix it up. The cruise line makes a splash in the community when Peter hits a channel marker during their elegant maiden voyage, dumping the mayor's wife in the bay. Their venture struggles after their first outing, until they get the idea to go downscale and paint the boat in garish tropical colors, a move that makes them a wild local hit. The rags-to-riches plot is a bit on the generic side, but Kraft turns the concept up a notch in the preface, in which Peter Leroy reveals that the happy ending is one he created to compensate for his mother's endless "real life" failures, a gambit that allows room for plenty of tongue-in-cheek games with the reality-versus-fantasy theme. The book has some slow moments during the rather ordinary coming-of-age narrative in the early going, but once Kraft begins to work his clever conceit, this novel emerges as another memorable installment in his innovative series. East Coast author tour.