• May 28, 2023


Book cover

Beginning with the book’s title and the appearance of a dapper, spectral gent named Winston Ono on the first page, Goldblatt makes good on his claim at the outset that John, Paul, George, and Ringo are all over this exercise in misdirection. Not that the many embedded Fab Four riffs add anything significant beyond opportunities for readers to feel clever for spotting them. His mom may be just a voice on the phone and his dad an emotional wreck, but David Salmon keeps up a semblance of normalcy as he drifts between home and his Flushing, Queens, middle school—hanging out with secretive BFF Hector Caban, struggling to keep pace with aggressive and easily offended classmate Minnie Drugas, and getting used to having Winston suddenly pop up in his bedroom or out on the street to deliver vague, evasive comments. As it eventually turns out, there has been a tragic family event…but since the author studiously avoids having anyone mention it and provides only deliberately misleading hints, when David does at last reveal his nature with a sudden meltdown, it seems to come out of nowhere. An assurance thereafter that now it’s going to be “getting so much better” has, at best, a tinny ring. The main cast presents White.

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