The story takes place in small town Ontario in the early 1960's and examines the lives of a group of friends as they struggle with the pressures of adolescence along with the myriad societal changes that marked these turbulent times. Against this backdrop, two of the principal characters harbour a dark secret concerning the rescue of a drowning boy gone horribly awry. The thread of this unresolved event is woven into the unfolding storylines of the characters as they attempt with varying degrees of success and failure to establish their place in the evolving social order.
Cal Harding is the conflicted protagonist, a sensitive but much misunderstood youth trying to escape his delinquent past. His nemesis is tough guy Morris Stratton a swaggering, brutish hood who leads a gang of "greasers" intent on making life difficult for the town's teenaged population. Up to now everything has come easy for Dave Mitchell, a clean-cut hockey-jock whose sensibilities are firmly rooted in the fifties. He must come to terms with the changing realities of the times if he is to maintain his lofty status and relationship with the liberated Susan Franks. Pretty boy, Ray Stephens is a member of the new breed, a longhaired musician in an up and coming rock band. Early on he runs afoul of the hoods and must overcome physical threats to his well being along with his own inner demons as he strives to find his artistic voice.
The four main characters are supported by a large and varied cast of secondary and minor players whose antics cover the spectrum of "coming of age" escapades. These are described with great hilarity, suspense and imagery as the case may be and help set the context and mood.
This is a gritty tale, unabashedly recounted in a series of intertwined plot lines. The language is "full on", recreating the vernacular of the time and place. The dramatic climax to the story is played out in the town cemetery and is both unexpected and bittersweet.
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