The House Across the Street
The book’s theme concerns a young adolescent boy growing up and discovering the world of sex and love. His success and failures result in his creating his own choices, sometimes against his own character leanings, often in accordance with his changing biology. During this period, he sporadically stands apart and examines what is happening as if out of time, analyzing its sense and nonsense from a different dimension.
The sociological and psychological implications alone make this book an exciting read, something akin to Carl Jung meeting Max Weber. In addition, the theological difficulties from the day take on a life of their own, explaining how some of us ended up where we are today. The philosophical issues of the day, too, take on a humorous new life in this seminal work. Whether you grew up in the age or not, boy or girl, it’s difficult not being able to walk next to him and understand oneself in a very new way.
Mr. Byers tells stories with the buoyancy of Thomas Wolfe, the subtle quirkiness of William Faulkner and the grace of Flannery O’Connor. Even in its heaviest moments, you never want to put the work down, caught as one is between wondering whether where it is headed and wishing it would go in another direction. Anyone curious about the sixties, especially how the era affected their beliefs as well as the present age, would enjoy reading this book.