The Book of Reuben by Tabitha King, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Book of Reuben

The Book of Reuben

by Tabitha King

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In addition to its own deftly crafted tale, King's latest provides a rich backdrop for two of her earlier protagonists-Reuben's second wife, the eponymous Pearl, and his son Sam (One on One). Set once again in the blue-collar milieu of Nodd's Ridge, Maine, the story covers 25 years in the life of Reuben Styles, a change-of-life baby consigned in his youth to living in a horse barn by his heartless farmer father. The book's focus-an unpleasant one-is Reuben's marriage to Laura Haggerty, the virginal, doll-like object of a high school crush. An unrelievedly unsympathetic character, Laura hefts food and scalding coffee at her husband, strikes the children and becomes born again-the better to fool around with the Reverend Smart, whom Reuben calls ``that vain peacock of a con man.'' Interwoven with the Styles saga is that of the widow Christopher and her son David, summer people whose movement in and out of Reuben's life leaves unresolved plot threads that include an unsolved murder. (It is the widow's addiction to ``boozing and cruising'' that pulls Reuben into the use of alcohol; otherwise, the Christophers are extraneous and confusing players.) With graphic sexual encounters and daubs of humor, King etches a convincing portrait of a gentle male psyche while evoking the timbre of 1960s rural America. (Sept.)
Library Journal
In this prequel to Pearl (LJ 11/15/88) and One on One (LJ 2/15/93), Reuben Styles, a peripheral player in King's earlier novels, becomes an adult, takes over a local filling station, marries the girl he's loved since they were both teenagers, and fathers three children. Although mired in a marriage that even the improbably patient and long-suffering Reuben recognizes as a disaster, he's totally unprepared for Laura's vindictive behavior when she asks for a divorce. The novel's major weakness is that Laura is never presented as a particularly sympathetic character, so it's hard to understand why Reuben is attracted to her or why he keeps trying to accommodate her. Nonetheless, King is a good storyteller, and fans of her series about the working-class town of Nodd's Ridge will enjoy this one, too. For public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/94.]-Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.24(w) x 6.78(h) x 1.07(d)

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