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God Save the Child Mass Market Paperback – May 1 1987

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (May 1 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440128994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440128991
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.4 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #178,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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First Sentence
If you leaned way back in the chair and cranked your neck hard over, you could see the sky from my office window, delft-blue and cloudless and so bright it looked solid. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Follow any mention of the guinea pig in GOD SAVE THE CHILD. It's like a clue-magnet for unraveling character, plot, and purpose (or motives, however you want to call it).

Parker opens ths second Spenser novel with the P.I. droning in liquid narration, turning fool's gold into the functional lead of realism. Spenser artfully exposes his disgust for the husband/wife clients in his office. His descriptions of the outfits and arguments adorning these two seersucker, suburban bozos become a classic caricature setting for the husband/father's comment that his son took his guinea pig with him when he left home and disappeared.

That single observation, made by Roger Bartlett, that his son came home to get his pet before taking off, lifted him from the miasma his self-absorbed wife had immersed him into, beginning under his skin, continuing outward through the awkward, classless, tasteless clothing she had him don for the interview with Spenser. The only comment which cleared through the putrid artifice of that interview was Bartlett's mention of the guinea pig, which, of course, the wife, "mother" hated.

So, okay, Spenser, you were telling me that the only thing in that home which may have given warmth to this kid was that pet. And, the fact that the father noticed his child's attachment to it without rancor, began to paint the man out of the seersucker and into the quiet, subtle honesty of a man who cared about his son, but had probably not been able to demonstrate it.

The first two chapters were so impregnated with 70's ambiance (hey, yeah, this classic mystery was written then, and is still around to be bought and sold!), so packed with clues and character enrichment, I'm surprised this book didn't birth a horde of ...

Well ...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I came to Robert Parker and Spenser late. In fact, when I read the back cover of this book and learned he had died last year I felt more than a twinge. He is a contemporary writer and will continue to be current many years from now.
God Save the Child was published in 1974. The descriptions of the clothing the characters wear are so photographic I was transported back to a time when I thought fashion had finally reached its highest peak. Revisiting the styles as captured on these pages was a shock and a giggle. We were ridiculous a good deal of the time in our pretensions, language, hair styles, drink and certainly in our clothes.
Even Susan Silverman, who always is perfection in these books, buzzes in for a romantic dinner wearing a yellow top, black slacks, black and yellow platform shoes and black and yellow pendant earrings. Spencer is wearing a black sweater, black shoes and white slacks. And they all drink like fish. Several vodka gimlets, a couple of bottles of wine and a brandy nightcap are polished off with a porc tenderloin au croute. And this is on a weeknight.
And yet the characters are fresh, the story is relevant to any age, and the humour is as crisp and delightful today as it must have been forty years ago. I have read several of the later books and this one holds its own with the rest. I am really sad to now know we have seen the last of Spencer. Fortunately this book is just the beginning of a long lifetime of good stories.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is Book 2, and Spenser is as feisty as ever. A couple comes to his office and says they never thought of using a Private Eye before; he's bored because he's heard it so many times. Turns out their kid has vanished, taking his guinea pig with him. This is in Smithfield, bastion of the rich up on the north shore. The local police chief is portly and doesn't like Spenser much. So what else is new?
One thing is new - Susan Silverman, the High School Guidance Counsellor. She's feisty and beautiful. Their meeting-scene is rather overdone, though. She drinks a lot, which is MUCH different from later stories. He tells of his nose-breaking and she likes his carving of the "Indian on the Horse" (in front of the MFA) which he did in the first book. She's sad that she's only a guidance counselor and can't really help people. I have a feeling that many guidance counselors out there would have some objection to her point of view. You can make a difference anywhere you are - if only you do your best.
Susan becomes a staple to the series, the love-partner of Spenser throughout the books, the one that brings sense to his sometimes frayed world. Unfortunately, at least in this book, she doesn't seem to be helping much. The story is extremely simplistic in dealing with the causes of child unhappiness and the ways in which it can be "fixed".
The story has a good dose of homosexual behavior, drugs and fetishes - all soon to be part of the Spenser trademark plotline. What is EXTREMELY interesting to me is that while the "later" Spenser is very much a hip guy with gay friends and easily defending gay rights, he most definitely did not start out that way. Some of the stereotypes shown here border on insulting.
There are other trends forming here.
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By A Customer on July 11 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had read almost all the Spenser books before I got to this one, and so I was fascinated by how it foreshadowed the rest of the series. Most notably, it introduces us to Susan Silverman -- at this point a high school guidance counselor but later to become a psychologist. And she is why this is a 4-star, not a 5-star, review. By my lights, she remains the weakest element of this entertaining and evergreen series. Spenser is almost instantly besotted by her, and I have no idea why. She is pretty and dresses well, but isn't the greater Boston metropolitan area filled with attractive fashionistas? She doesn't quite instantly fall into bed with Spenser, but then again, I'm sure that there are many women who don't automatically have sex with private detectives they meet at work. Her insights are not that brilliant. While she is not as high maintenance here as she becomes in future books, nor as pretentious, she is still not all that remarkable. All this said, the mystery itself is wonderful. The plot twists kept me intrigued. And Spenser himself is fascinating. True to his code and filled with compassion and integrity, he is still my favorite sleuth with a series. (Apologies to Nero and Archie!)
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