Why did I love this book?
Judith Guest’s novel about a family who loses their eldest son in a boating accident on Lake Michigan was summer reading for my entire class in high school, but it felt like it was selected just for me. I felt I was Conrad Jarrett, the sensitive depressed outsider kid twisted up in knots over his brother’s death. It’s amazing that Judith Guest could write so convincingly from a male teenager’s point of view. But then she struggled with depression and based this story on something that really happened to a family in suburban Chicago. You can feel the truth of lived experience in this classic tale of grief and growing up, and in Timothy Hutton’s performance in the 1980 movie version.