Boys and Girls Together by William Goldman
Posted by Caitie F on March 10, 2011
Title: Boys and Girls Together
Author: William Goldman
Paperback: 751 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (Random House)
Year Published: 1964
Summary (from goodreads):
Aaron, Walt, Jenny, Branch, and Rudy. They are children of America’s post-war generation, as different from one another as anyone can be. Yet they are bound together by the traumas of their pasts, the desperate desire to capture their dreams and satisfy their passions, the stirring pleasures of sexual awakening–and the twists of fate that will inextricably link their lives in the turbulent world of 1960s New York City.
This was actually a reread for me. I read it years ago before Jason and I had even met, when we were just talking online. He told me that William Goldman was his favorite writer and that I had to try this book. I read it and loved it. So when my book club wanted to read something that was a little older, I suggested it. Since it had been a few years, I had to reread that book and I actually really enjoyed reading it again.
I just reviewed Freedom and complained that the characters were not likable and I thought they were whiney brats. After reading Boys and Girls Together, I felt like Franzen failed at making complex and interesting characters, and least when you compare it to what Goldman did, Goldman’s characters are complex. No one in one-dimensional, and since you see so much of their story, you can understand every decision they make.
This is about their parents as much as it is about them. Each person is a direct result of what their parents wanted or them or how they were treated. Aaron’s dad died when he was two and his mom didn’t care about him at all, so he is angry and becomes a pretty horrible person. But at the same time, I feel bad for him because I saw what his parents were like. It is actually controversial that I am saying that because he is a truly miserable human being. And yes, he is not blameless of his actions, but I can see where some of it comes from.
Everyone is so well-developed and deep that it makes it such a great read. One person at our book club had taken notes on each character, because it does jump from one to the next. There is even a point where Jenny is gone for over 100 pages. Everyone does come back and their lives intertwine in interesting and believable ways. I also love how everyone develops in their sexuality and the struggles they have coming to terms with it.
Goldman is a fantastic writer and no one does dialogue quite as well as he does. I would suggest you read the book just for the dialogue because it is so good!
I really enjoyed rereading it, and am glad i got to share it with others in the book club!
This counts for the GLBT Challenge, 2011 Challenge, and What’s in a Name