First Novel Harry Cauley Bridie and Finn

ISBN 13: 9780151139101

Bridie and Finn

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9780151139101: Bridie and Finn

In a close-knit New Jersey community during the 1940s, Bridie and Finn grow up just a few doors apart from each other and eventually must confront the nature of their relationship. A first novel.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

From award-winning TV writer Harry Cauley, a first novel that celebrates the golden days of urban neighborhoods and tells a beguiling, unpretentious, and bittersweet coming-of-age story. In January 1942, Bridie O'Connor and her father, Laurie, move into a tightly knit, mainly Irish Catholic community in New Jersey, settling right across the street from narrator Finn. The fearless, feisty Bridie electrifies Finn's fourth-grade class on her first day by announcing, ``I hate nuns more than I hate the Japs,'' but her relentless curiosity and eagerness endear her to them all. She and Finn become close as they deal with equally difficult families: Laurie O'Connor drinks too much, while Finn's father can't accept his son's deformed leg, and his wife has never recovered from the death of a baby daughter. Finn's family verges on collapse after his underage brother, Fritz, enlists and convinces their father to sign the papers, an act that Mrs. Finn cannot forgive. She becomes ill and has to be hospitalized when again pregnant; Finn and his father barely communicate; later Fritz goes missing in action. After Laurie's sudden death, Bridie moves in with Finn and his father, insisting on keeping house for them while going to school. As she and Finn graduate from high school, Bridie makes a stunning revelation to her friend, who realizes too late that he loves her and always will. A tad sentimental in its evocation of childhood and community, but Bridie is a splendid creation, a female Huck with the same endearing mix of kindness and gutsy independence. A notable debut. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Ostensibly a tale of star-crossed love, this debut novel by a playwright and TV sitcom writer offers bittersweet but hollow vignettes. Bridie and Timothy "Finn" Finnegan meet in January 1942 in a New Jersey fourth-grade classroom. Bridie, the extroverted child of a well-meaning alcoholic bartender, immediately considers the embarrassed Finn to be her best friend. During the WW II years, the children become inseparable. Likable but stereotypical Irish Catholic characters comprise Finn's family: the emotionally distant father; mentally fragile, institutionalized mother; all-American brother Fritz, who enlists in the service and ships out, never to return. Cauley creates minidrama after minidrama by overlapping the Finnegans' lives with multi-ethnic, but insubstantial, folk ranging from a kindly Jewish couple to an albino black boy, son of the proprietors of the local bordello. None of the situations, tragic or heartwarming, add up to much. Thanks to a shamelessly sentimental prologue, readers already know the ending, and events become less compelling as the story wears on. Cauley spends too much time constructing a chronological coming-of-age saga and not enough fleshing out his cardboard characters.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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