Here is a little snippet of Little Did I Know by Mitchell Maxwell:
I waited a beat and then confessed, “More than ten and less than five hundred.”
She laughed. “You are absolutely disgusting.” She paused. “You never kissed me. Even after all these years.”
“I was saving the best for last.”
Caught up in the moment, I leaped from my chair into her arms and kissed her like I was off to war. She lay still in my embrace as if she was being ravaged. She then rolled over, took a deep, sated breath and said, “I need a cigarette.”
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Mitchell Maxwell ? I have been to two or three Broadway plays in my life. After reading this book, I have a greater admiration for the work that goes on behind the scenes. Samuel "Sam" August has just graduated from college in 1976, and now he and his friends are left to wonder what next. Sam has always been the best at sports, but his heart has always been in the theater. How does he make his dream of becoming a big-time theater producer come true? He finds himself in the small town of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
It's a town where everybody knows everybody. A town controlled by one man, Dr. Barrows. As the odd man out in town, one would think Sam would be intimidated. But after a while he seems to have no fear. Dr. Barrows' foundation has control of a theater, the Priscilla Beach Theatre, but feels compelled to make Sam beg for it. His wife Lizzy has other ideas on how to help Sam rent the theater for the summer. I was sure Sam would give into Lizzy, and compromise his morals. Fortunately, Sam remains true to himself. Whatever comes in his way, Sam finds a way to persevere. When his initial financing fell through, Sam found another way. The graciousness of a dear friend, Secunda, and several other investors come through.
His only friend in town seems to be Veronica, the front desk girl at the local motel. Their attracted to each other, but Veronica is doubtful as to where their relationship can go. Sam is here temporarily, why bother to invest in him? To me it seemed like the town or Dr. Barrows himself was holding something over Veronica. She certainly doesn't like Lizzy Barrows. Veronica and Sam find a way together, and it's very sweet. It's like they've known each other a lot longer than a few weeks.
When all the actors, musicians, and dancers are finally hired, the obstacles aren't over. Some extremely funny (a gang of rabid raccoons) and some that will make you downright mad (corrupt officials, and the sudden loss of electricity). I got a good sense of what it takes just to put on a small-town theater production. Actors form little cliques. Sex, drugs, and alcohol are free flowing, as long as the quality of the work doesn't go down. Sam spends hours and hours picking the right people, then he wonders when to push them and how much. Does he risk losing his actors? Or will it motivate them? Has success gone to their heads?
I have to wonder if the author is a big sports fan. There are a lot of sports references and sports metaphors. They are some that are relevant (Mickey Mantle), but sometimes I think the book gets bogged down with sports metaphors. Aside from that, this is a good coming of age story. Sam has a dream, and doesn't fold when others try to take him down. What I got out of this book was dream big and don't give up.
Rating: Give it a try
Notes: I received a copy of the book from the author's publicist (Meryl L. Moss Media Relations Inc.) in exchange for an honest review.