Cover image for The boy at Booth Memorial : a novel
Title:
The boy at Booth Memorial : a novel
ISBN:
9781682010952
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
265 pages ; 23 cm.
Summary:
When fourteen-year-old Rene stepped off the streetcar in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1949, he entered a situation he could never have imagined. His mother had taken a position as head nurse at the Salvation Army's Booth Memorial Home and Hospital where they would live on campus. For the next year he would be surrounded by ten women who had dedicated their lives to God, and fifty young girls ... all pregnant ... all unmarried. To hide that embarrassing fact from new classmates, he walked around the block before boarding a streetcar for school. To bond with neighborhood kids, he tried playing hockey even though he didn't know how to skate. Although his religion censured it, he took an interest in the home, the women running it and in the lives of the girls there to hide their condition. He learned how hard it was for them to give up their babies and felt the pain when difficult births and deaths visited the home. Inevitably, there came a time when he learned that life's decisions are not always easy ... and not without consequence. Those experiences at Booth Memorial guided Rene in his first steps toward being the responsible man that he was someday to become. --
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Summary

Summary

When fourteen-year-old Rene stepped off the streetcar in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1949, he entered a situation he could never have imagined. His mother had taken a position as head nurse at the Salvation Army's Booth Memorial Home and Hospital where they would live on campus. For the next year he would be surrounded by ten women who had dedicated their lives to God, and fifty young girlsâ¦all pregnantâ¦all unmarried. To hide that embarrassing fact from new classmates, he walked around the block before boarding a streetcar for school. To bond with neighborhood kids, he tried playing hockey even though he didn't know how to skate. Although his religion censured it, he took an interest in the home, the women running it and in the lives of the girls there to hide their condition. He learned how hard it was for them to give up their babies and felt the pain when difficult births and deaths visited the home. Inevitably, there came a time when he learned that life's decisions are not always easyâ¦and not without consequence. Those experiences at Booth Memorial guided Rene in his first steps toward being the responsible man that he was someday to become.


Author Notes

Raymond DeTournay is a Los Angeles-based writer with a career as a Producer/Director/ Editor in television broadcasting and his own video production company. His client list included major corporations plus the Reagan Presidential Library and The Carter Center in Atlanta. He studied novel writing at UCLA and is a member of the Director's Guild of America. His articles have appeared in Road & Track magazine, the Los Angeles Times , and the Los Angeles Daily News .


Reviews 1

Kirkus Review

A teenage boy grows up on the grounds of a hospital for unwed pregnant teens in DeTournay's debut novel.Fourteen-year-old Rene Dardenne has never been to a city as large as St. Paul, where his mother has moved him to take a job as a nurse at the Booth Memorial Home and Hospital, a Salvation Army-run institution that serves young, unwed mothers. "Our two busiest times of the year are the result of New Year's Eve and Prom Night," explains a Salvation Army officer on their arrival. "The New Years' are delivering now, and we expect Prom Nights to arrive three or four months after conception, which is also about now." Rene and his mother will be residing on premises. As one of only two men living on the propertythe other is an elderly caretaker named MaxRene gets a crash course in all things female, from garter belts in the bathroom to the sounds of giving birth. Rene, a Roman Catholic obsessed with the parameters of sin, is highly embarrassed by his new living circumstances and does whatever he can to keep them secret from the kids at his new school. Even so, he can't help but get involved in the complex, dramatic lives of the 50 girls who live at the home, each of whom has a colorful backstory and is undergoing one of the most emotional experiences of her life. Their struggles with stillbirths, adoption, shame, and isolation force Rene to rethink his definition of sinand to grow up faster than he might have otherwise. DeTournay writes with humor and compassion, adeptly depicting the characters and their late-1940s Midwestern milieu: "I was embarrassed how quickly she saw through me, but at least, I got my unasked question answered. She jumped at the sound of gunshots and the wail of a World War II air raid siren. It was midnight, and the noise announced the arrival of 1950 in St. Paul, Minnesota." The environment of the hospital is compelling and often heartbreaking, so much so that the reader will be instantly invested and committed for the remainder.A coming-of-age story set in a remarkable hidden world. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.