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Soldier, adventurer, raconteur, restless layabout when not working on my Bug-eye Sprite. Lost my heart to the incomparable Dejah Thoris one summer in my youth, bounced around with Billy Pilgrim, and learned, as an axe-man, to never give an inch. I write using a drafting pencil, gum eraser and graph-lined pads. I exploit children to convert my careful printing into bytes.
on Oct. 25, 2011 :
Devoted is a novel that is filled with the thoughts, feelings, and memories of Nick Staylor. And the more we learn about him, the more we understand the world he has constructed to protect himself from the unkind world in which all of us live. Like many people I’ve met, he protects himself from the memories about his youth and the unseemly, but exciting, activities he experienced. He’s done this by isolating himself from everyone else. The problem is that he is surrounded and pursued by “normal” people, people who intend to benefit themselves by being close to him.
Unable to completely avoid others, he falls into the trap of caring about a woman. Ending a previous near-involvement, he is trapped into living where he doesn’t want to live, and ends up living next to the one who manages to invade his heart. Trouble is, she is not yet a ‘woman,’ but is almost there.
What Nick goes through is primarily the Hell internal to almost everyone. But it is nevertheless compelling. When the ultimate comes to pass, the results are both exciting and painful, bringing unexpected results. Does he survive? Avoid prosecution? How? Read it and find out!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Aug. 05, 2011 :
I was attracted to this novel because it takes place in my home town, Saratoga, CA. It quickly reminded me of one of my favorite reads, A Confederacy Of Dunces. The protagonist, Nick Staylor, is every bit as self-absorbed and quirky as Ignatius J. Reilly, and sporadically, just as riotous. While Ignatius spars with his mother, Nick fends off the unwelcome intrusion of his grandmother’s voice, a constant companion since he was a child.
The struggle has caused Nick to narrow his life down to the essentials; an unfulfilling job, fast food, Jolt cola, a kitchen full of books, and his beloved historical miniatures. Nick, however, ‘looks good on paper’ to Karen, and she presses for marriage. His petty treatment of her eight-year-old son dooms this prospect early on, and forces his return to the town of his past, and the accompanying memories.
His teenaged neighbor, Carla, has plans for her life, and drafts the misanthropic Nick as an adjunct to her success, precipitating a one-sided love, angry neighbors, a road trip, and revelations aplenty. You may think the sleepy suburb of Silicon Valley a mundane setting for the unusual relationship story, but it turns out to have all the right elements for Nick’s musings. No New Orleans patois here, but the local haunts (some no longer there) enrich the whip sharp dialog between the misfit and his affluent neighbors, and make the long read worthwhile.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)