Jennifer's Reviews > Until They Bring the Streetcars Back

Until They Bring the Streetcars Back by Stanley Gordon West
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's review
Jun 22, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 2009, book-club, mn-wi, mystery, abuse
Recommended to Jennifer by: Bookclub
Recommended for: People in the Twin Cities who like a local Mystery story

This book was really good! It told the story of Calvin (Cal) Gant. The year is 1949 and Cal is in his Senior Year at St. Paul Central. He is in Football and Basketball. He has a set of friends that he pals around with. And he has an after school job so he can save up for his own car. Everything is pretty darn good - and then he meets Gretchen Luttermann. This sad beat up little waif of a girl catches Cal's attention and his life changes. Suddenly his worries about Basketball and girls seem a little less important.

I don't want to add spoilers on this - but I have to say this wasn't quite what I expected. I thought it would be all seedy and more of a Double Indemnity kind of a thing. Instead I found myself really liking Cal and feeling bad for Gretchen. When I started reading it I was concerned that it was being narrated from a 1940's era teenage boy. I was expecting a "Golly Beave!" at any moment. It never happened of course. The characters had that understated simplicity about them that you get with some of the great writers. Where they let motif and atmosphere and action define the character rather than telling you straight out. It was really fun to find myself thinking about the importance of animals in this story for example. Those are some muscles in my head I do not flex very often anymore!

As for the end - it was satisfying but just a little too neat for me. I don’t think it was incrediably realisitic - but it was satisfying.
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Reading Progress

June 22, 2009 – Shelved
July 4, 2009 –
page 32
July 7, 2009 –
page 154
Started Reading
July 8, 2009 – Finished Reading
July 9, 2009 – Shelved as: 2009
July 9, 2009 – Shelved as: book-club
July 9, 2009 – Shelved as: mn-wi
July 9, 2009 – Shelved as: mystery
July 9, 2009 – Shelved as: abuse

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Beth F. What do you think about this one so far?

It's taken some twists I wasn't entirely expecting...

I wish there were still streetcars around--that would be so much cooler than riding the bus to work every morning. :P

Jennifer I am only about 30 pages in so far - so I don't have much of an opinion yet.

It would be awesome if there were still streetcars. Although I would probably cus everytime I got stuck behind one. ;)

Beth F. It was really fun to find myself thinking about the importance of animals in this story for example.

Agreed! It was these little snippets that got me thinking that this wouldn't be such a bad reading choice for a high school English class--especially some of the local ones. It could be paired along with some pretty interesting MN history.

message 4: by Jennifer (last edited Jul 09, 2009 03:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jennifer Oooh - I wish we read stuff like this in High School. They probably wouldn't have let us because it's interesting and we can't make learning interesting now can we??? Also I didn't go to school in MN - and even though WI is super close... Also I don't think this book was written when I was in High School come to think of it... Huh.

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