Publishers Weekly Reviews

Best known for his back-page slice-of-life vignettes in Sports Illustrated, Rushin (author of The Caddie Was a Reindeer, an essay collection, and the novel The Pint Man) describes growing up in the 1970s. He employs such cultural references as Romper Stomper toys, the 1971 antilittering commercial featuring a Native-American (who it turned out was actually Italian-American) crying by the side of the road, the Sting Ray bike of the book's title, and contemporaneous advertising jingles and adolescent chants ("Beans, beans the musical fruit... "). Rushin uses his family as the book's focal point, capturing the nonstop zaniness of growing up with four siblings in Bloomington, Minn. Some of these asides are funnier and more interesting than others, but '70s kitsch and nostalgia are evident throughout, as for example in his family's 1978 Ford simulated–wood-grain station wagon and a visit to the newly opened Disney World. But it's Rushin's dad, a child of the Depression, who steals the show. Whether quoting his father as he describes his five kids ("I have one redhead and four shitheads") or retelling stories about him being drunk on what was the then new Boeing 747, it's through his father that Rushin captures the mystery and magic of childhood. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (July)

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