Understanding Women: A Novel

Front Cover
TCU Press, 1998 - Fiction - 345 pages
1 Review
It's 1956, and James Robert (Jimbo) Proctor has just turned sixteen when his Uncle Waylan and his new wife Vicky invite Jimbo to spend a summer toiling in the New Mexico oil patch. Jimbo dreams that heaving heavy metal about will serve as well as a Charles Atlas course to make a man of him, but he lands smack dab in a domestic fracas that has his uncle living in his machine shop and sneaking out with Sharon, his secretary.

Meanwhile Jimbo's Aunt Vicky leads a protest against a fundamentalist book ban and rails against American H-bomb tests on Bikini. James sets out to solve the case of what he calls The Hardy Boy and the Mystery of the Marital Estrangement, but when he meets Sharon's cousin, Trudy, and plummets into love himself, the mystery of what brings men and women together or keeps them apart only deepens into confusion and torment.

And James has more to learn than why we love and how we earn a mate both deserved and deserving. He's coming of age in a pivotal year in an era of repression and transition: the Brown decision, hardly two years old, meets die-hard resistance among segregationists; Rosa Parks has just refused to take a back seat; play-wright Arthur Miller marries Marilyn Monroe and gets a contempt citation from the House Un-American Activities Committee; Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver lose in a landslide to Ike and Dick Nixon; Ed Sullivan claims he'll never let "Elvis the Pelvis" on his TV show; and a southern senator warns Americans against the insidious influence of "foreign" films. In Jimbo's hometown of Dallas, right-wing complaints of "Red" artists succeed in censoring a traveling art show sponsored by the United States Information Agency; civil defensedrills sweep the nation to prepare Americans for nuclear war; sponsor General Electric withdraws an episode of the wildly popular drama "Medic" because it reveals too much about a Caesarean section; and abortions are so forbidden even descriptions of them are stricken from books.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

Understanding women: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Sixteen-year-old Jimbo Proctor spends the summer of 1956 learning about life. Having accepted his uncle Waylon's offer to work in the oil fields of New Mexico, he becomes enmeshed in Waylon's marital ... Read full review

Review: Understanding Women

User Review  - Terry Perrel - Goodreads

My favorite guy coming-of-age- book by an American writer. This has everything! Read full review

Related books

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
9
Section 3
15
Section 4
29
Section 5
39
Section 6
45
Section 7
53
Section 8
63
Section 21
181
Section 22
191
Section 23
203
Section 24
211
Section 25
219
Section 26
227
Section 27
235
Section 28
243

Section 9
71
Section 10
81
Section 11
89
Section 12
99
Section 13
107
Section 14
117
Section 15
129
Section 16
141
Section 17
147
Section 18
155
Section 19
165
Section 20
175
Section 29
253
Section 30
259
Section 31
271
Section 32
281
Section 33
289
Section 34
297
Section 35
305
Section 36
309
Section 37
321
Section 38
331
Section 39
335
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1998)

C. W. Smith is currently a professor of English at Southern Methodist University.

Bibliographic information