Thursday, August 05, 2010


Rally Round the Flag Boys!, Max Shulman, Doubleday & Company Inc, 1957, 278 pp

The #4 bestseller of 1957 is a piece of fluff about life in the suburbs circa the mid 50s. This is a common theme in books from that decade and is usually handled with wit when it is not a psychological study of dysfunction. Shulman's is heavy on the humor.
 Harry Bannerman works in New York City but lives in a small Connecticut community with his wife, three children, two mortgages and his feeling that romance and excitement are behind him. He loves his wife passionately but she is community-minded and thinks he should grow up.

  In a totally 50s moment, the U S Army installs a Nike missile base on the edge of town. Then the disgruntled wife of a TV exec makes a play for Harry. In addition, there is the young public school teacher who brings psychological analysis to her students.

 Shulman is a fairly good writer and keeps the pace moving. The "slice of life" genre has been around since those early French novelists and I am sure will go on. Humor is the icing.

(Those 1950 bestsellers were apparently not keepers. This one also is out of print and can be obtained only in libraries or from used book sellers.)

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