Part straight, part gay, part student, part bookstore employee and full time narcissist, Art Beckstein spends his summer after college graduation looking for love, I mean friends, I mean direction I mean . . .? From a lovers spat on a street corner where he meets Art Lecomte (who looks at the couple fighting and remarks "Some people really know how to have a good time") to the basement library where Phlox lies in wait, to the once regal Pittsburgh Hotel where he father's mob gang hangs out, Art's summer becomes full of booze, small time crime and back-alley liaisons (more ways than one).
Is this a coming of age book? Indeed the reviews on the cover lift this work up with Fitzgerald, Caulfield, Twain, Dickens and, be still my heart, Kerouac. What? Sorry, this does not belong to that club.Were these obsequious comparisons lifted off the cover of The Wonder Boys or Kavalier & Clay?
This tale is a sometimes funny, sad, silly and ugly one, but an always entertaining account of that summer.
Upon reflection did he learn anything? Grow at all? Did he find where friendship ends and love begins, or vice-versa? Or what the difference between lusting and making love is? I don't think so. He explored pleasures and found his gangster father, an outlaw biker (the father has a strong opinion on this friendship), a liberated librarian (Phlox) and a male friend (Art Lecomte) that challenges his sexual persona while aching to prove that "he really knew how to have a good time."