Along the Watchtower

( 1 )

Overview

A powerful, coming-of-age debut novel from a bright new literary voice.

Set against the closing years of the Cold War, Constance Squires's debut novel introduces the family of Army Major Collins, as told through the eyes of Lucinda Collins-the vibrant, headstrong eldest daughter.

In spare, heart-wrenchingly beautiful prose, Squires offers us a rare glimpse into the experiences and sacrifices of an American military family-a powerful story that ...

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Along the Watchtower

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Overview

A powerful, coming-of-age debut novel from a bright new literary voice.

Set against the closing years of the Cold War, Constance Squires's debut novel introduces the family of Army Major Collins, as told through the eyes of Lucinda Collins-the vibrant, headstrong eldest daughter.

In spare, heart-wrenchingly beautiful prose, Squires offers us a rare glimpse into the experiences and sacrifices of an American military family-a powerful story that reveals what it really means to fight for the things we believe in and to defend the ones we love.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Squires's somber debut details the coming-of-age of Lucinda Collins, an adolescent army brat growing up in Germany in the '80s. Her family revolves around her father, Major Jack, who runs his house according to the Army's zero defect policy. To him, rules exist so that "stupid people don't wander around lost," and illness—including Lucinda's epilepsy—is weakness. Though she's never seen it, land owned by the family in Shiloh, Tex., is the only constant in a childhood filled with loneliness and fleeting friendships. The major's selfishness and a wandering eye eventually tear the family apart; Lucinda's role as messenger and mediator also causes her relationship with her mother to suffer. She soon realizes that she can only rely on herself. Much remains unrealized in Squires's often evocative novel, from Lucinda's conflict with her father to her dreams of home, and the best moments come from brief encounters with uniformed men: a Nazi ghost, a neighbor suffering PTSD, a young soldier who shares her budding love of music, and a teenage boy who appears at critical junctures, pushing Lucinda to make personal her abstract philosophies, on war, the military, and herself. (July)
Library Journal
In her debut novel, Squires, having grown up in a military family, provides an inside look at the life of an army brat. Teenaged Lucinda Collins lives on an army base in Germany in the post-Vietnam era. Her parents entered into a hasty marriage, and the ongoing strife of military life has eroded their fragile bond. Lucinda loves her father, but she detests the way he neglects his family. At school, all of the kids are constantly in transition; Lucinda meets a boy, Sydney, and falls in love within a few hours, but his family moves away three days later. Unable to form lasting ties, she discovers that rock 'n' roll provides her with a context that can be transported anywhere. Though her family eventually splinters, her emotional toughness serves her well as she moves into adulthood. VERDICT A unique, compelling perspective on the dynamics of a military family, springing from the experience of someone who has been there.—Susanne Wells, MLS, Indianapolis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594485237
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/5/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,376,223
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Constance Squires is an Army brat and an inveterate lover of rock and roll. She is the director of the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Central Oklahoma.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 25, 2011

    The main character is really memorable, admirable

    I got to read this book as a book store sample and the story really affected me. I wondered if I could have mustered the self-sufficiency that the main character, Lucinda, needed to propel her through life.
    She has to fight for everything she needs: mentally, emotionally and sometimes practically in her transient life as an "army brat".
    Her father's narcissism and mother's passivity leave her to untangle all the tough experiences of a difficult adolescence on her own.
    The one time anyone gives her guidance it's a "must listen to" list of rock songs from a young soldier on base, and this music becomes a kind of touchstone for her.
    It's a lonely climb to adulthood but Lucinda is a tough girl I really admired.
    By the end of the book she finally manages to balance out when to fight back and when to just accept. And isn't that exactly what we all need to learn?
    I loved this book. I think it would be great for a book club discussion because there are so many moments in the book that made me wonder how I would have reacted in the same place.
    I mostly read YA and this is definitely literary fiction, but I was completely engrossed in it. So I think it would be a good read for someone looking for more substance in a coming of age story than typical YA novels.
    The main character is a perfect mix of what I could relate to and what I wish I could have been.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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