Reminds Me of My Innocence

Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins

Fiction - Literary
498 Pages
Reviewed on 01/26/2019
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Novelist Peter Kelton, a retired U.S. Newsman, has published six novels in the cross-genre category of literary fiction. His novels conform to the belief that well-written literary fiction doesn’t have to be “Highbrow”; it has to embrace ideas about destiny in a storyline that holds the readers’ attention. He wrote for Texas newspapers in Temple, Greenville and San Antonio and for trade magazines in New York. In 1962 he left the New York editing scene to try to write novels, living in a village in Spain. He returned in 1965 with two manuscripts that Perry Knowlton, an agent at Curtis Brown, promptly accepted. The agent’s only question when they met: “What are you going to write next?” Kelton continued to write novels at night and on weekends for more than 50 years, while writing news daily. Along with more than 100 free-lance assignments, he wrote 450 reviews of novels for six years as National Contemporary Literature critic for Examiner (dot) com. He later placed some of those reviews on Goodreads. He turned 86 in 2018, experiencing a belated wake-up call, for he owned four unsold, unrepresented novels lying fallow, the product of more than 50 years. Kelton has said his story is pretty much the journey that many writers take through the fog of creation to find clarity. “It takes some of us a lot longer to learn than most. But now I’ve got six novels published and well worth reading . . . finally.”

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Reminds Me of My Innocence: Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins by Peter Kelton can best be described as absurd at times. The story follows two brothers and their female cousins who come into their lives and make for some pretty adventurous times. I have to be honest, by just reading the blurb and the opening of the chapter of the novel, I felt a little uncomfortable. But as the story progressed, the absurdity and the weird nature of the story made sense and connected. It was oddly romantic and sad at the same time, which made me read on and want to know more about James and Mark and what the truth was really.

This is the story of brothers Mark and James from Texas who are trying to make sense of what really happened in their lives, especially when it comes to their three cousins from New York. Beautiful, sophisticated and educated, the three sisters excite the brothers in more ways than one. With James now living in a nursing home because of his Alzheimer's, Mark has no idea what comes out of his brother’s mouth is even correct or not. But what if it is true? Did all of that really happen?

Risqué as it was, the story was indeed interested and attention grabbing. What I liked most about the story was the fact that the author never rushed anything at all. He let the characters have their time, set their own pace and basically let them tell their own story. The overall pace of the story was good and even though the subject matter was somewhat taboo, the author did it justice. The characters, their ramblings and their need to be heard were conveyed brilliantly. Interesting and well-executed.

K.C. Finn

Reminds Me of My Innocence: Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins is a work of literary and dramatic fiction penned by author Peter Kelton. In this spanning tale of memory, the nature of memory, relationships and sibling ties, we first meet brothers James and Mark when James is in a nursing home. Treated here for dementia and Alzheimer’s, the old storyteller loses himself in a tale of seduction, where he claims Mark had slept with three cousins, all in the same night. As the plot unwinds, the sisters’ history is unfolded and the tale becomes a cultural clash between the brash boys of Texas and the sophisticated, if a little damaged, ladies of New York. More than this, James’s Alzheimer’s presents him with a new challenge, for he believes he’s found the true understanding of the universe in the part of his mind that’s lost.

Having enjoyed many works of Peter Kelton in the last week, Reminds Me of My Innocence: Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins was the most challenging for its complexity and the seemingly unrelated elements that are slowly being pulled together. Readers of literary fiction who enjoy a deeper, more philosophical challenge will enjoy this work for its complexity of thought and the nature of how its narrative is crafted, though it may take a reread here and there to be sure you have ‘the facts’. I found it to be a deep and engaging character study of old James in particular, with flashes of memory that hold another story line, but also serve to discuss how memory works in his current time and place.

Divine Zape

I discovered Peter Kelton through reading The Yesterlings and knew I'd read anything he writes. Apart from the exceptional characters he creates and the adventures he builds into his plots, he has the unique gift of storytelling and a narrative voice that is mesmerizing. In Reminds Me of My Innocence: Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins, Mark Evans visits his elder brother, James, who is in a nursing home and who takes readers through Mark's misadventures with three cousins. In a single night, Mark seduces three cousins and sets off a chain of events that will rock the very fabric of family life. Laced with humor and drama, this narrative will seduce fans of stories with dramatic themes.

It is surprising that the story is told from the perspective of a man suffering from Alzheimer's and who believes he hasn't lost his memory to the disease. There is a feistiness in the voice that rubs off on the reader. Peter Kelton writes beautifully, employing an economy of word and a sentence structure that reflects the pace of the story. It's fast, emotionally rich, and filled with skillfully written scenes. Reminds Me of My Innocence: Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins also features very compelling characters. Readers will enjoy Mark and his charm, but James offers the kind of companionship that both entertains and reminds readers of the dynamics of family. The story explores themes of love, family, and adventure. It is an exceptional literary treat, a delightful read.

Romuald Dzemo

Reminds Me of My Innocence: Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins by Peter Kelton is a deftly written piece of literary fiction with extraordinary characters. The narrator is James, who tells the story of his younger brother and his adventures with carefree, mischievous cousins. Both brothers have been in the army and have been stationed at the same place. What happens when Mark sleeps with three sisters? The outcome of that action seems to be the central theme in this narrative, but there is more, far more than that. The narrator is in an isolation ward, in a nursing home, a man with failing memory. And it is interesting that the narrator is someone suffering from Alzheimer's.

The narrative begins with a hilarious, somewhat intriguing premise and showcases the author's gift for storytelling. The narrator informs readers about the fate of sandy-haired Mark Evans and the trouble he's gotten himself into for sleeping with three sisters: "He has rarely looked back. Even today I imagine he senses the soft fall of their footsteps in dark bedrooms, their shadows faint against the dawn, their sweet pungent smells alive in his nostrils." It's easy to summarize some novels in a few sentences, but not this one. The reader is pulled into the world of someone in a nursing home, and he invites them to share his memories. The writing is impeccable, filled with insight and biting humor. James is a character that will stick with readers. Reminds Me of My Innocence: Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins is a great achievement in literary fiction, featuring powerful themes and sophisticated characters. A lovely work of reading entertainment.

Christian Sia

The first thing that caught my attention when I started reading Reminds Me of My Innocence: Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins by Peter Kelton is the narrative voice. This fascinating work of literary fiction is told by a very curious character, a man suffering from Alzheimer's, locked up in a nursing home, but one with a voice and a point of view that brings about the exciting humor that characterizes the story. He introduces himself at the opening of the story: "Me? I think I told you, but in case you hadn’t guessed, I’m Mark’s older brother, James." The story starts with a somewhat curious premise: Mark Evans succeeds in seducing three sisters in a single night. And there is a huge problem. The reader is pulled into a tale of unusual romance and family relationships, featuring well-sculpted characters and themes that are skillfully developed.

There is a kind of sweetness in this story that is embedded in the exquisite prose. The author has a unique turn of phrase and an economy of word that defines the crispness of the language. The short phrases, the sharp wit, and the exciting dialogues are elements that add to the enjoyable reading experience. The story is fast paced and filled with streams of consciousness that reflect the state of mind of the protagonist and the narrator. Peter Kelton has the gift of catching the attention of the reader and keeping it through each exciting page. Reminds Me of My Innocence: Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins is a fun read, ingeniously plotted, and expertly written. The characters are real and the quirkiness in the narrative voice makes it irresistible.