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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Looper is a sports fiction novel written by Michael Conlon. Summer had always been magical, especially on that last day of school when the long vacation yawned wide and gleaming, full of promise and adventure, but this summer was particularly significant. Ford was graduating from the eighth grade, and it was his last year at Holy Redeemer, the Catholic grade school that kids from the Kensington Hills area were privileged to attend. Ford had plans for the summer, definite plans. He wanted in with the Lund group, the in-kids who dubbed themselves the Fantastic Four -- this would be the summer they accepted him as part of their gang. He wanted to hang out with his best friend, Rocket Olivehammer, who was fearless and willing to do just about anything for a dare. And he wanted a girl to give that mood ring he had sitting in his pocket. It was summer; anything could and would happen.
Michael Conlon’s Looper: A Coming of Age Novel is a marvelous and grand romp of a novel set in the summer of 1980. Conlon recreates that earlier and more innocent time through the television and musical selections that are so much a part of Ford’s everyday life. Ford is a particularly interesting character for a coming of age novel due to his tenuous status as part of the elite and well-to-do in his neighborhood. His father’s unrelenting lack of talent in doing business and the family’s resulting precarious economic situation stand in stark contrast to that of his privileged peers who enjoy the country club life while he considers how to get a scholarship to college by becoming a caddy for the summer.
I loved Conlon’s glorious descriptions of the golf course which becomes both home and natural inspiration for Ford, and seeing him weakly staggering underneath his first client’s golf bags and gradually becoming stronger, fit and more confident after a few weeks’ effort is marvelous. Looper is beautifully written and a joy to read. Anyone who enjoys the coming of age or sports genres, as I do, will love this book that somehow synergistically blends the two into something profound and unforgettable. Looper: A Coming of Age Novel is most highly recommended.