Nothing but a Smile: Book summary and reviews of Nothing but a Smile by Steve Amick

Nothing but a Smile

by Steve Amick

Nothing but a Smile by Steve Amick
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2009
    336 pages
    Genre: Romance

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Book Summary

It’s 1944, and Wink Dutton, a former illustrator for Yank and Stars and Stripes, has arrived in Chicago after an injury to his drawing hand gets him an unwanted discharge from the service. Renting a room above the camera shop run by Sal Chesterton – the wife of Wink’s buddy, still stationed in the Philippines – Wink is surprised to learn how Sal is making ends meet: producing pinup photos for the soldiers’ favorite girlie magazines. In fact, she’s using herself as a model. When Wink becomes a partner in her covert enterprise, it’s the beginning of a collaboration that is both wonderfully sexy and pure, one that blossoms into a subtle and unexpected romance. Their work leads to Wink’s reinvention as a photographer and, as the war ends and the business expands, to a shared understanding of the painful adjustments to be made in the rapidly changing postwar world.

Steve Amick’s grasp of Wink and Sal’s generation is remarkable, as is his fresh take on the period. The triumph of the war’s end is tempered by his deep understanding of its quiet undercurrents – the fear of not knowing what to do next, the loss of more carefree prewar selves, the sorrow of mourning soldiers recently dead when everyone else is parading in the streets. In the surprising story of Wink and Sal, Amick has created a beautifully understated love letter to an America of simpler choices that were nonetheless hard for the people who made them.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This divine love story is as much about Sal and Wink as it is about America in that era - a great story, well told." - Publishers Weekly.

"Overall, though, this is a satisfying slice of lesser-known Americana. Recommended." - Library Journal.

"Jimmy Stewart and Ann Sheridan might have been the protagonists of this goofy postwar romance ... A charmer. Even the little old lady from Dubuque will like this one." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Steve Amick is the author of The Lake, the River & the Other Lake. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he received a BA from St. Lawrence University and an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. His short stories have appeared in Playboy, The Southern Review, New England Review, Story, McSweeney's, in the anthology The Sound of Writing, and on National Public Radio. On walks with his wife and young son, he often passes the original Argus Camera building.

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