Jennifer Wardrip's Reviews > Dishes

Dishes by Rich Wallace
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Feb 24, 09

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Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

Danny is in a sort of void.

He knows he's not going back to his college in the fall. He lives for running, and due to equality in sports issues, his college decided to drop track rather than add more female sport alternatives. When his father invites him to spend the summer in Ogunquit, after much consideration, he takes him up on the offer.

Danny's father was never around much. His parents had him when they were both still in high school. His maternal grandparents didn't want to see the two kids tied to a marriage of convenience, so with the understanding that Jack needs to be around for the big moments, they agree to help Danny's mother raise him. Needless to say, Jack and Danny have little connection. So the summer in Ogunquit is a chance to bring the two together.

But the summer doesn't start out the way Danny expects. Living with Jack is like having an older brother or roommate rather than a father. Jack gets Danny a job at the bar he works at, Dishes. They are the only straight men in the place. It doesn't bother Danny, but he's not even allowed to let the other staff know Jack is his father.

As Danny tries to find his place in life and form a relationship with his father, he meets Mercy, a waitress at another local establishment. The two tentatively dance around each other, trying to learn to trust. Mercy is unsure of Danny's sexual orientation due to where he works, and then wonders even more about him when she finds out that Jack is his father. Jack had tried to hit on Mercy a while back.

As the summer wears on, Danny and Jack start to from proper bonds. Mercy and Jack work out the kinks of their crazy work schedules to spend time together. And the guys at the bar accept Danny for who he is.

A quick read, DISHES is a glimpse into the uncertainty of a boy turning into a man. Due to its short length, there is little time for serious character exploration. But Danny is a likable lead character who finds himself in some quirky situations.

There is a heavy emphasis on the homosexual atmosphere of Ogunquit, so those offended by the topic best avoid DISHES. But the story is not vulgar or explicit in content and should have much appeal to teen boys looking for something to read.

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