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    Review of HAWKES HARBOR by S. E. Hinton (see her website)

    TOR, September 2004

    Jamie Sommers is a survivor. Raised by nuns after his mother's death, he served in the navy, fought sharks and pirates in the South Seas, fought just about anyone who got near him, abused drugs, and managed to scrape by in life. So, what could possibly cause this man to suffer a complete breakdown? Because that's what happened to Jamie--he awakens in a mental institution with a mixed bag of memories, a terrible fear of the coming of night, bullet wounds where the police shot him, and a strangely ambivalent feeling to Hawkes Harbor where he has spent the past several years.

    Author S. E. Hinton bounces around in time, from the mental institution, to the days Jamie spent with his friend Kell surviving the merchant marine, cocaine, and alcohol, finally leading to the dreadful confrontation that cost Jamie so much. But even the doctors in the mental institution, people who have seen so much, can't believe what really happened to Jamie, or the strange connection he shares with the man who rules Hawke's Harbor, the man Jamie refers to as IT.

    Hinton's compelling writing grips the reader, makes us savor the hints of disaster and appreciate the strange, but symbiotic relationship between Jamie and Kell, and then Jamie and Grenville. Both men struggle for their sanity and a form of redemption, find journeys that take them where they never thought they could go, and ultimately lead them to a sort of contentment that no one who knew Jamie's background (or Grenville's) could have imagined possible.

    This is a strange book, but it dragged me in and sucked me dry--I'm happy to recommend it.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 10/16/04

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