A WRITER'S WIT
My Book World
I read this book for two reasons. One, the novel is set in a place modeled after my alma mater, Southwestern College, in Winfield, Kansas. And two, I happened to have a copy I inherited from my grandmother, inscribed with her name and the date, “1915.” Some familiar spots on the landscape do appear in the book: the large “S” of sizable stones that must be whitewashed each year, the Walnut River Valley, Sunrise College substituting for my SC, the actual sunset hill of one hundred feet above ground. Otherwise, the novel is an overly sentimental rendering of one young man’s four years in college. The book is marred by the details McCarter leaves out: how many steps down Sunset hill to the bottom (77), how classes were conducted, where and how students lived, the topography to a greater degree (she does great watercolor washes describing spectacular sunsets). I did, however, get a feel for a certain type of student that both schools, fictional and real, seem to attract: a rough cut outlier, bright enough but unpolished, who arrives at commencement a much-changed person. One who will continue to grow and change throughout life.
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