At thirty-nine, Peter returns to Bayview, the Baby Boom suburb where he spent his formative years. He checks into a crummy hotel and decides, in a moment of inspiration, to seek out his long lost childhood friend, Willy Smithberger. He’s banking on Smithberger. He’s hoping if he reunites with Smithberger he might connect to something, that something might be revealed. He’s hoping he might find a way-out of his long-festering pain and suffering and despair. But it’s not as simple as he might’ve wished. Smithberger proves to be something of a white whale, a difficult-to-apprehend quarry.
On writing Suburban Boy: I’ve always thought I was fortunate to have grown up in the Baby Boom suburbs of Long Island. Mine was a decidedly middleclass suburb, overflowing with kids. The days were marked by the sounds and images of the sixties, Cronkite announcing JFK’s death, the Beatles, protestors slamming the Viet Nam war. My sense of life was formed in that atmosphere, in the troubled environment of my suburban family, in the strange days that followed. In writing Suburban Boy I was interested in digging, as deeply as possible, into my feelings about these things, that place, that time. At its heart, the novel is about two subjects that have always been important to me: friendship and the idea of home.
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