Fiction Brock Clarke The Ordinary White Boy

ISBN 13: 9780156027090

The Ordinary White Boy

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9780156027090: The Ordinary White Boy

Lamar Kerry, Jr., is an unlikely hero. At twenty-seven years old he can't dance unless he's had more than a few drinks. His wardrobe is uninspired, at best. He has returned after college to Little Falls, his miserable, working-class hometown in upstate New York, deflating everyone's expectations of him in so doing. He's over-educated, overconfident, fundamentally bright, but mostly going nowhere. When the town's only Latino, Lamar's former high school classmate, goes missing and is feared dead, Lamar--done with being a disappointment to his father and his girlfriend--decides to break out of the ordinary by solving the case, the roots of which may be in the town's racist undercurrent. Will the ordinary white boy achieve the extraordinary in Little Falls?
In a voice both tender and biting, Brock Clarke mingles subtle social criticism with laugh-out-loud funny observations, crafting in Lamar a character both unforgettable and universal, a character that will live long and proud in American literature.

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Review:

Brock Clarke's debut novel, The Ordinary White Boy, is a familiar story of a young man finding comfort with himself amidst an average life of work, relationships, and occasional hardships. Lamar Carney, in his khaki pants and flannel shirts, lets life happen to him, always saying he would rather be doing nothing than something.

The truth is that I don't want to be special... Being special can make you think that you are something you're not: it can make you believe, say, that you live in a city when in reality you live in a shrinking little mill town. Being special can also make you believe that you're too important to go out and cover emergency school-board meetings for forty dollars a pop, plus mileage.

Throughout most of the novel, Lamar questions conventional society, even though he is destined to conform to it. Still, Clarke has done wonders subtly producing a special sort of character, even though Lamar might claim otherwise. A refreshing, casual read. --Yvonne Schindler

About the Author:

Brock Clarke received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Rochester and is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Cincinnati. His books have been widely reviewed and his short-story collection What We Won't Do won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. He lives with his wife and son in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Clarke, Brock
Published by Harvest Books (2002)
ISBN 10: 0156027097 ISBN 13: 9780156027090
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