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When hunky teenage hockey player Joe Andreson and his widowed mother move to Minneapolis, Joe falls under the seductive spell of Kristi Casey, Ole Bull High’s libidinous head cheerleader, the kind of girl a guy can’t say no to, even when saying yes guarantees trouble. Joe ...
When hunky teenage hockey player Joe Andreson and his widowed mother move to Minneapolis, Joe falls under the seductive spell of Kristi Casey, Ole Bull High’s libidinous head cheerleader, the kind of girl a guy can’t say no to, even when saying yes guarantees trouble. Joe balances Kristi’s lustful manipulation with the down-to-earth companionship of his smart, platonic girlfriend, Darva. But it is Kristi who will prove to be a temptation (and torment) throughout Joe’s life.
Years later, having once dreamed of a career in pro hockey or as a globetrotting journalist, Joe can’t believe that life has deposited him in the aisles of Haugland Foods. But he soon learns that being a grocer is like being the mayor of a small town: His constituents confide astonishing things and always appreciate the value of a hard-to-pass-up special, a free toy for a well-behaved youngster, a pie for the best rendition of “Alfie,” or simply Joe’s generous dispensing of the milk of human kindness. For Joe, everyday life is its own roller-coaster ride, and all he wants to do is hold on tight.
The path Kristi has charged down, on the other hand, is as wild as Joe’s is tame–or at least that’s how it appears to the outside world. But who has really risked more? Who has lived more? And who is truly happy? As Joe discovers–in this dramatic, heartbreaking, and hilarious novel–sometimes people are lucky enough to be standing in the one place where the view of the world is breathtaking, if only they’ll open their eyes to all there is to see.
The View from Mount Joy is truly glorious: a warm, wonderful picture of life as seen from the deepest places in the heart.
From the Hardcover edition.
Narrator Robertson Dean strikes the perfect note in the first-person role of Joe, a high school hockey star whose life throws him several unexpected curveballs that land him in a very different place from where he'd always imagined. While his life didn't turn out as planned, he gradually realizes that maybe he's exactly where he's supposed to be. As the adult Joe looking back over his life, Dean tells the story in a pitch-perfect ironic, self-deprecating tone that conveys simultaneously Joe's complex mix of vulnerability, cynicism and hope. Dean doesn't create actual character voices, but he conveys the personalities and emotions so well that the listener is completely drawn into the story. He's particularly good at popular, manipulative Kristi, a high school cheerleader turned radio evangelist and Joe's on-again, off-again lover. The abridgment of this engaging and believable story is seamless. Simultaneous release with the Ballantine hardcover (Reviews, May 7). (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
In 1971, high school senior Joe Anderson moves to Minnesota with his widowed mother. Joe is a wonderful young man who plays hockey and piano, works in the local grocery, and is nice to his mother. So what's his flaw? He is attracted to Kristi Casey, the wildly fun cheerleader who is every boy's fantasy and who introduces Joe to oral sex, marijuana, and acid trips. As Joe moves through life from high school to adulthood and marriage, Kristi is always there to tempt him, even when she becomes an evangelist. Landvik is a wonderful storyteller, and Joe is an attractive character, perhaps too good to be true. However, some of the book club readers and fans who enjoyed Landvik's other novels (e.g., Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons) may be uncomfortable with the sex and drugs and Kristi's hypocritical life as an evangelist and the wife of a politician. As long as librarians understand that this new work is more explicit than Landvik's previous novels, this is recommended for most public libraries.
—Lesa M. Holstine
Standing at the urinal, I read the first graffiti to mar the freshly scrubbed wall of the school bathroom: Viet Nam sucks and Kristi Casey is a stone fox. In the fall of 1971, I was a senior new to Ole Bull High, and while I had formed judgments as to the former (I agreed, the war did suck), I had no idea who Kristi Casey was and whether or not she was a fox, stone or not. When I met her it only took a nanosecond to realize: Man, is she ever.
From my perch on the top row of the football bleachers, I used to watch her and the other cheerleaders, their short pleated skirts fanning out as they sprang into the air, screaming at the Bulls to "go, fight, win!" as if the continuation of human civilization depended on their victory. The late sixties still bled its influence into the early seventies, and many of us considered ourselves too hip in a mellow make-love-not-war way to look at those bouncing, pom-pom- punching, red-faced girls without thinking, Man, are they pathetic. Except, of course, for Kristi. Every time she tossed her dark blond hair, cut in a shag like Jane Fonda's in Klute, every time she bent down to pull up a flagging crew sock, every time she offered up a sly dimpled smile, it was as if she'd handed us our own personal box of Cracker Jack, with a special surprise inside. She was the kind of girl who could do uncool things like act as secretary for the Future Farmers of America after-school club or solicit funds for Unicef during lunch hour (she told me having a wide range of interests looked good on college applications) and the consensus would still be: Wow.
Darva Pratt was not part of the consensus and, in fact, loathed Kristi Casey and all that she stood for.
"Look at her," said Darva, as if I needed prodding. It was during halftime, and as the marching band played the theme song to Hawaii Five-O, Kristi kept time on a bass drum she had strapped over her shoulders. "God forbid the band steal some of her spotlight."
After they played the bridge, the band quieted, playing two notes over and over as Kristi began a rhythmic duel with the band's official bass drummer. She pounded out an uncomplicated beat, which the bass drummer answered. The crowd cheered, and then it was the drummer's turn. His was a more complicated rhythm, which Kristi echoed, no problem. The crowd cheered again. This went on, the fans growing wilder as each drummer's challenge increased in speed and difficulty. Finally Kristi beat out a tempo so intricate, so tricky, that after a few beats her challenger threw down his mallets and bowed deeply, his long furry hat practically sweeping the ground. Flashing her bright, white smile, Kristi held up her arms in victory as the crowd exploded, the drum major signaled, and the band played the last measures of the song at full volume.
"Wow," I said after we had all sat down. "That girl can drum."
"Of course she can," said Darva. "She's our golden girl."
I laughed. "Jealous?"
Now it was Darva's turn to laugh. "Yes. It's my lifelong desire to be the wet dream of hundreds of high school boys."
"Language, Darva," I said, putting a little gasp of shock in my voice. "Language."
The third quarter began, and we sat in the bleachers, warmed by the mild autumn sun, watching the game. Under a great bowlful of blue sky, the trees themselves cheered us on, waving their maroon and gold leaves in the breeze and dislodging a squad of crows who cawed their cheers; it was as if all of nature was throwing a pep rally for a bunch of high school kids. I shut my eyes and raised my face to that solar warmth, but my respite lasted only a moment before Darva's sharp elbow found purchase...
Posted February 2, 2009
Film and television actor Robertson Dean slips easily into the persona of Joe Anderson. Dean's voice is low with a slight sibilance that makes the character, a regular fellow, even more attractive and accessible. This voice is warm, inviting conversation, perhaps confidences. We're introduced to Joe as a teenager. His father has died so he and his mother move to Minneapolis. It's always difficult for a teenager to make new friends but Joe has a lot going for him as he's an ace hockey player. He also has someone he's going for - Kristi Casey, head cheerleader. Less attractive and sexually active is Darva, his good friend. Joe had hopes of becoming a star on ice but life does take those twists and turns and he winds up a grocer, albeit a popular and inventive one. He's happy with what he does and enjoys his relationships with customers. Kristi, on the other hand, isn't content. She's a striver as a tele-evangelist with eyes for our nation's capital. Both Darva and Kristi will turn up from time to time in Joe's life which keeps listeners wondering what will happen next. The View from Mount Joy is easy and often laughable listening as we go through the years with this guy named Joe. - Gail CookeWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.