Pinch Me, I Must Be Dreamingby Glendon Swarthout
Pinch Me was Glendon Swarthout's final novel, published after his death in 1992 by St. Martin's Press. It deals in comic fashion with the real estate collapse of 1990-91 in his home town of Scottsdale, Arizona, where the author lived for over 30 years and also satirized in another comic novel, The Cadillac Cowboys. Prescient to a fault, Swarthout's Pinch Me is even… See more details below
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Pinch Me was Glendon Swarthout's final novel, published after his death in 1992 by St. Martin's Press. It deals in comic fashion with the real estate collapse of 1990-91 in his home town of Scottsdale, Arizona, where the author lived for over 30 years and also satirized in another comic novel, The Cadillac Cowboys. Prescient to a fault, Swarthout's Pinch Me is even more timely today in the midst of the greatest real estate Depression and property value collapse in Phoenix's history. What better remedy to deal with America's financial trauma than comedy? Laugh through our tears.
Don Chambers is dogged and in love. When Jenny Staley says she can't leave her ninety-one-year-old rifle-toting granny and her nineteen-year-old daughter, Don invites them all to move into his Scottsdale condo. But Grandma Windy won't budge. Both these lovers are middle-aged, modern, divorced adults, there is no reason they cannot consummate their passion. They are on the verge of just doing that when the phone call comes from Don's octogenarian father. He has broken his hip and Don must transport him from Michigan to Don's Arizona home. When eventually the stingy old codger moves out and Don and Jenny are once more alone, who should arrive but Don's son Ron, a recent college dropout with a pet rabbit and a tank of oxygen to which he turns when life becomes too stressful, as it so often does.
Complications multiply, and through it all the hapless pair of lovers stumble along, their eyes on a simple goal -- marriage and release from the demands of being the filling in a generation sandwich of older parents and younger children. Whatever transpires in this true-to-life drama spiced with the author's dry wit, the journey is a wonderfully enjoyable one for the reader.
A comedy of good manners and bad relations, reflected by a quote from a noted social scientist in a New York Times article on how increased lifespands are changing family life. "I estimate that half the 35-year-olds today will have a dependent parent alive for at least 20 years before that parent dies," said gerontologist Vern Bengtson. "Having aging children and grandchildren will be the major domestic crisis for the 21st century."
Glendon's last novel, a contemporary comedic romance, in which he cast the serious problems of the "sandwich generation," of which he was one of the first members, in a comic light. Published posthumously, Pinch Me remains as up-to-date as tomorrow's newspapers in illuminating the growing problems today's baby boomers face getting crunched in the ever-widening generation gap.
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