Schoolboy Trojans was originally going to be the next book I brought with me to read on my lunch breaks. My plans were changed when I took yesterday off sick, and ended up reading the entire book while getting my car worked on. My new lunchtime book will be The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. It's the book that the classic film was based on. I've seen parts of the movie, but never the whole thing in its entirety. If I enjoy the book, I'll likely see the film.
I really liked Schoolboy Trojans. When I finished it, though, I had to ask myself whether I would have liked it as much if it wasn't set in my own hometown. The answer is probably not. Boiled down, it was essentially the story of the author's younger days and what a jerk he was then. Mildly entertaining, but not all that compelling on its own.
The fact that it was set in Troy, Ohio--my hometown, the place I grew up, a place I love and am intimately familiar with--was what made it great for me. Granted, the author (Vernon Vaughn Knuckles Jr.) graduated from Troy High School 32 years before I did, and Troy has seen some drastic changes since then. Still, a lot of stuff is the same. I knew many of the places he mentioned, and that's what made it fun.
Also, the author changed the names of real people, making them "characters," but in many cases it was impossible to not know who he was talking about. Not the main cast of his friends, but several Troy High School legends were brought up--Bob Ferguson, Tom Vaughn, Tom Myers, Ryan Brewer, etc. You can't go to Troy High School and not recognize these names, even when they're changed slightly in the interests of fictionalization.
Up next: a review of Pat Conroy's Beach Music.