Rated of 5
by Laurie H. (Stuart, FL) The Ocean
What I love most about the ocean is that it can be both powerful and gentle, two sides of a coin. The same can be said about Amber Dermont's novel. Beautifully written with powerful and gentle characters, it is a great read.
Rated of 5
by Barbara O. (Maryland Heights, MO) Starboard Sea
A modern day "Catcher in the Rye", the story of a young man's journey to make sense of his life after a tragic incident. Jason Prosper finds others like himself in a new school his senior year. Their stories and Jason's innate decency lead the reader through a tale of teenage angst, tragedy and life in a prep school with a reputation for taking in kids kicked out of other private schools. A good read made even better for anyone with a love of sailing.
Rated of 5
by Bob S. (lawrenceburg, IN) Voyage to the heart of light
I am a fan of first books--I find so many authors, including Jan Smiley and John Grisham, poured their authentic life into their first books and never surpassed them. Even if Amber Dermont publishes nothing else, "The Starboard Sea" is a gift for us all. She explores the heart's search for love, for forgiveness, for belonging with all the pain, joy, grief, and exaltation that journey involves. Jason steps through great love, devastating losses, and exalting triumphs searching fort hat rare treasure, his true self--something for which we all long and which so often eludes us. I know this young man in my heart and soul--I find myself here, and thank Amber for the light she gives.
Rated of 5
by Joyce K. (Conway, Arkansas) The Starboard Sea
This story's setting begins by introducing us to the principal character Jason Prosper. He is entering into a new preparatory boarding school after being dismissed from another school despite his father's efforts to "bargain" for his retention. He has lost his best friend to suicide and is really struggling to deal with all the upheaval in his life. The story deals with a number of themes of young adulthood including sexual conflict, fraility of relationships with both female and male friends, abuse of privilege and morality issues. I enjoyed the book. I did not think it was a fast read but I thought it was a good read. I liked the way the story unfolded and was not bothered by it's occasional diversion. My bookclub has read several first time authors. I think this book would be good for adult readers and young adults of mature age. Some of the themes would not be suitable for a young reader.
Rated of 5
by Arden A. (Lady Lake, FL) The Offspring of the Privileged
This first novel, by Vassar graduate Amber Dermont, is a coming of age story for the advantaged, as opposed to the disadvantaged. No bootstraps to be pulled up among these kids. There are butlers to do that. It is a very well-written story, with flowing prose, and the characters are well-depicted, if somewhat hard to love. The novel takes place at a New England Boarding School, the school of last resort for obnoxious, over-indulged rich kids who have been kicked out of every other boarding school.
If this review sounds conflicted, it is. I enjoyed the book a lot, but have a hard time accepting the behavior of these kids, and accepting that adults running the schools can overlook or condone some of the acts, which border on evil. But then, it is fiction. There are any number of sub-plots here, and if you are a sailing enthusiast, there are fine descriptions of racing. Overall, The Starboard Sea is a good read with twists and turns and sexual identity issues. . .more than enough to keep you interested and guessing until the last page.
Rated of 5
by Vicki H. (Greenwood Village, CO) Not all smooth sailing
We take to the water with debut novelist Amber Dermont in The Starboard Sea, a coming-of-age novel that treats us to both the beauty of sailing and the dark side of privilege. I never tired of Dermont’s lovely homages to the wind; her protagonist Prosper reads it like prose: “You never sail with one wind. Always with three. The true, the created, and the apparent wind; the father, son, and Holy Ghost. The true wind is the one that can’t be trusted.” Indeed, as Dermont plays out the metaphor, we watch Prosper continually trim his sails to fit his new situation: he has been kicked out of one prep school (acting out after his best friend’s suicide), and is shifted to another for his senior year of high school. A few mysteries -- one of which may be murder -- keep us turning pages.
I grew weary, however, of the stereotypes; it seems every “prep school novel” comes ready-made with a cast of profligate, spoiled, rudderless rich kids. Prosper tells us, early on, “I felt myself becoming a cliché. The boy in trouble. The wealthy father. The school in need and willing to offer refuge.” Indeed, these rich boys commit horrendous acts with no conscience. The girls are glamour queens, naked beneath fur coats. (“It’s tanuki, silly. Japanese raccoon dog. Very rare. I should probably be arrested for wearing it.”) All are dissolute heirs to fortune (“…Yazid had a killer British accent, a closet full of bespoke Savile Row suits and a well-heeled cannabis habit.”) They have “prep school nicknames” (Taze, Kriffo, Race, Cakes). When the boys go to The Head of the Charles Regatta, they first cruise through a party in the penthouse of The Charles Hotel, grab Bloody Mary’s and speak to the president of Harvard, who begs one of the boys to “ditch Princeton and come to Cambridge.” They party in houses with famous paintings and sculptures, and with girls like Fernanda and Flavia, who “looked like the results of the world’s most successful genetic experiment. Each girl had caramel skin, full lips, bright blue eyes…” and “ …went to Le Rosey in Switzerland. The school of actual kings.” But even if you live in the rarefied air of East Coast and international prep schools, you will find it difficult to believe the sardonic, snappy repartee between characters is from the lips of teens. (When a white Mercedes and a driver show up for the boys, courtesy of Kriffo’s parents, Taze complains. “Thought your dad was sending a BMW. Not this pimpmobile.” Later, when the Mercedes is swapped for a black BMW, Cakes says “Nice car. Are we doing a drive-by shooting later?”)
In this episodic novel, we sail quickly from scene to scene, experiencing vandalism, awkward attempts at sex, shady Wall Street goings-on in the stock market crash of 1987, even a murder and its cover-up. I loved Dermont’s beautiful passages of wind, weather, and celestial navigation but lamented the overdrawn characters at the prep school. (Of course the dean is corrupt. Of course the local police can be bought off.) But there is enough here that is deft and skillful that when I see her name on another novel … I’ll bite.
Judge rules unused Borders gift cards to be worthless(May 23 2013) Borders owes nothing to holders of roughly $210.5 million of gift cards that had not been used by the time the bookstore chain shut down, a Manhattan federal...