A Year in the Life of Peter Short

C. J. Martin

Publisher: Archway Publishing Pages: 260 Price: (paperback) $12.99 ISBN: 9781665730099 Reviewed: October, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

This novel chronicles the life of a college student as he pursues and is pursued by several women, including one troubled beauty who threatens to steal his heart.

In 1965, Peter Short is in his first year of an MBA program at Northwestern University in Chicago when he meets Sallie, a beautiful, blonde Ice Follies skater. The attraction is instant, and when the Follies leave town, the two travel to see each other. The visits, however, never seem to go quite as Peter anticipates, and it becomes obvious that Sallie is unstable.

Soon, in a terse phone call, Sallie ends things. Peter tries to put her out of his mind as he goes on with his life. He takes an internship with an oil company and travels with friends to Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas, catching the acts of the day, including Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis and others. Intelligent, but not particularly sophisticated, he begins to learn about wine, fine dining and the latest in pop culture. But just when it seems he’s moved on, Sallie reappears.

Martin has a natural writing style, with an ear for dialogue, particularly in capturing sexual innuendo and the bantering style of young men. In an early scene, the guys greet each other at a pre-game party. One asks: “Blissman, did you have a real job this summer or just pimp for your sister back in Michigan City?” The response: “Actually I branched out this summer¬—added a couple of girls … One of them was your sister.”

There are a few editing issues; for instance, the spelling of Sallie occasionally changes to Sally. More importantly, the ending is abrupt and unsatisfying, with subplots left unfinished.

Still, the story is entertaining up to that point and offers authentic characters and great bits of ‘60s trivia that will appeal to a wide range of adult readers.

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