J. Miller Surviving Joy: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781556114489

Surviving Joy: A Novel

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9781556114489: Surviving Joy: A Novel
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The author of Days of Wine and Roses recounts the story of Dub Johnson, alias Tex Frontere, an amateur prize fighter living in Depression-ravaged Houston, who meets a woman who threatens to be his undoing. 15,000 first printing.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Miller, author of the Emmy-winning teleplay Days of Wine and Roses, paints an affecting portrait of life in Depression-era Houston, but his tale of mismatched young lovers rarely transcends the boundaries of the coming-of-age genre. Protagonist Dub Johnson is a plugger, a diligent teenager who gains admission to Rice University despite his family's poverty and the negative effects of a philandering, alcoholic father. But when adolescent sexuality rears its rambunctious head in the person of new-girl-in-town Joy Hurt, Dub loses both good judgment and common sense and embarks on an amateur boxing career to please his libidinous lover. The relationship between the upwardly mobile boy and the girl from the wrong side of the tracks is poignantly rendered, particularly during the novel's final third, as Dub disengages from the affair and Joy's excesses begin to get the best of her. Miller draws strong characters, and his period writing is equally graceful, especially the hardscrabble boxing scenes that adroitly reveal the disparities in the protagonists' backgrounds. But, unfortunately, too many scenes remain formulaic, and ultimately readers will find little here that hasn't been said before.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

This latest novel by the author of The Days of Wine and Roses is a poignant, witty tale of a young Texan's coming-of-age, set in Depression-era Houston. Dub Johnson, a restless college student, becomes involved with the local "bad girl," and they embark on a furiously sexual relationship. While he tries to keep his grades high and struggles to hide this all-consuming affair from his mother, he also wages another battle, this one against himself; while he knows he would never marry the girl and doesn't even really like her, he cannot withstand his desire for her. The stark, dusty Texas locale serves as a fitting backdrop for this tale of innocence and experience, cruelty and kindness, love and pathos. With a keen eye for detail, Miller's sometimes funny, sometimes sad story reaches its inevitable conclusion while gracefully avoiding mawkishness. Kathleen Hughes

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