“Pete Dexter's tale of the troubled Warren Spooner and his court-martialed navy officer step-dad, Calmer Ottosson, defies comparison. Dexter's eye for detail, taste for the absurd, and dark and disturbing wit are all unparalleled in contemporary literature. Dexter has always deserved a much larger readership, and Spooner is just the book to bring it to him.”
— Dave Mallmann, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI
Warren Spooner was born after a prolonged delivery in a makeshift delivery room in a doctor's office in Milledgeville, Georgia, on the first Saturday of December, 1956. His father died shortly afterward, long before Spooner had even a memory of his face, and was replaced eventually by a once-brilliant young naval officer, Calmer Ottosson, recently court-martialed out of service. This is the story of the lifelong tie between the two men, poles apart, of Spooner's troubled childhood, troubled adolescence, violent and troubled adulthood and Calmer Ottosson's inexhaustible patience, undertaking a life-long struggle to salvage his step-son, a man he will never understand.
Pete Dexter, writing of the part played by love in the exuberant life of his hero, Spooner, and the fatal inevitability of the compromises that make life bearable, has given us a novel of picaresque vitality--outlandish, anecdotal, profuse, funny, profound.
-Susanna Moore, author of My Old Sweetheart and In the Cut