Review: A St. Louis Man Tempted by His Family’s Freedom in a Local Author’s Novel | book reviews

In 2018 Joe Regenbogen published the non-fiction book “The Boys of Brookdale: Sixteen Amazing Stories From the Second World War Discovered in One Senior-Living Facility”.

Now, the retired Parkway School District history teacher is keeping that career alive by casting the lead role in his new novel to a man who teaches history at a West County high school.

The book is “Longs Peak”, an actual mountain in Colorado that poses challenges to those who climb it. The teacher is Gordon (whose last name apparently never appears).

He lived in West County with his wife and two children until his marriage fell apart. The landslide took Gordon out of the house and into St. Charles County to live with his father, an aging widower.

Gordon can no longer walk to work. Instead, it copes with the daily tangle of rush hour traffic. As Regenbogen puts it, “Gordon had experimented with other routes, but there was no faster route than I-64, the main thoroughfare connecting downtown St. boom. Many people still referred to the thoroughfare by its US highway designation, “highway forty,” or, as its older residents like to say, “highway farty.”

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Then, one day in May, Gordon receives a phone call from his former roommate Mizzou, Ben. He’s in Colorado, living in a cabin near Longs Peak. Like Gordon, Ben’s marriage went sour. Ben invites Gordon to head west for a week or two of good times.

Ben accepts. On his arrival, he fell in love with the mountain landscapes, the pure air, the clear water lakes. He reflects on what life would be like in this unholy place. Louis environment. Then he reflects on what life would be like without his wife and children. “What should he do?” he wonders. “It always came back to the same competing values, family versus freedom. You realize you can’t have it all.

At the top of Longs Peak, Gordon confesses what ruined his marriage, then makes a choice between freedom and family.

What does he choose? To find out, pick up a copy of a well-written and oddly gripping story about a person who strikes readers as someone special.

Manchester’s Harry Levins retired in 2007 as the Post-Dispatch’s senior editor.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Saturday, April 9, 2022