A novel of a privileged young man’s twisting, troubled journey through Depression-era America, by the author of Mildred Pierce.
From birth, Jack Dillon is a golden child. Blessed with blond locks, glittering eyes, and a perfect voice, he is the most popular child singer in Baltimore. But when puberty robs him of his voice and the stock market wipes out his family fortune, Jack is forced to rebuild. Over the next fifteen years, Jack will see it all. From Maryland to California and back again, he will become a football star, a soldier, and a tramp. Through it all, he never loses his eye for beauty, or his hunger for a woman he has known since childhood. To find happiness in the face of the Depression, Jack will have to remember that no matter how the world has changed him, part of his soul remains as pure as the first note he sang.
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Noir with an Up Beat Ending
I was familiar with a few of the author's earlier books which had been made into movies, but had never sought out his later (post WWII) novels. An interesting characteristic of this one (published in 1948) is the key elements of the plot that go nowhere. They are just passing events with transitions missing and the protagonist's life moving on. A bit of a coming of age story, but nothing saccharine or morally uplifting, and a well developed look at the Depression and the maturing of the US oil industry.