by Shawn Hartje
Find out more about this book and author:
Genre: Coming of Age, YA
In the Trail King parking lot, Jason Krabb saw his friend isabel Perkins's brown Dodge Aries sedan parked between giant pickups, a good sign since she'd lately been hanging with Shelly Stewart, whom Jason had been flirting with in algebra II.
She told him to shower first and then go to bed, couldn't stand her child looking like a zombie.
For seventeen-year-old Jason Krabb, high school life in 1990s Idaho is a world of cargo shorts, cassette tapes, and junk food. Plagued equally by algebra and puberty, Jason sets out to find a girlfriend and become a rock guitarist. His quest is irreversibly jolted when he attends a bonfire and meets an alluring girl from the other side of town and a rag tag crew who are bringing gas lines through the desert in order to keep the lights on in Portland and Seattle, places where Jason hopes to find his nirvana as a guitarist.
Meanwhile, things deteriorate at home. Jason's pediatrician mom, Leah, sadly faces the twilight of her parenting years while his father, Curtis, contends with the enormity of running a big ticket research laboratory and coming to terms with his son's wayward path.
Pipeliner is at once a coming of age love story and a comical timestamp of early 90s family life. Set in the fictional Idaho town of Helen Springs, pop. 58,000, its characters are as vibrant as the lofty peaks and purple sunsets of the high desert. Here we find rich farmers, poor ranchers, dutiful Mormons, government honchos, disgruntled vets, drug-dealing bruisers, irksome teachers, and spirited students, all doing their best to keep the lights on.
I found this to be a mellow easy going story of life in Idaho and what it has to offer.
Idaho living and its setting of pipeline country provide a backdrop for Jason's coming-of-age story that touches upon the young adult scene, classism, religion, ethnic diversity, first love and intimate encounters.
Jason's desire to move on to bigger and better things by way of music brings in elements of the music scene which he is mostly exposed to via cassette tapes.
Although this story's primary focus is on Jason, there are also parts told in the voice of his mother. The parenting experience of teens with its ups, downs, dramas and uncertainties shows another side of Jason.
* review copy courtesy of author