By M. Stevens on October 15, 2015 (Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase)
Somehow out of all of Robert Lamb’s excellent books, I managed to read his 1991 debut novel, Striking Out, last among all his work. Interestingly, in the years since, he has continued to write along some of the same themes from Striking Out – music, being Southern, religion, the down and out, the lost and lonely, the good guy versus… well, the world. I find it almost too simplistic to refer to Striking Out as a coming-of-age novel, but it certainly fits that genre. I was captivated by Lamb’s Benny Blake, an 18-year-old who wants nothing more than to get laid – unless it’s to find a way out of the suffocating Augusta, Georgia. He can’t comprehend the wealthy families who live in the district known as “The Hill,” and he can’t understand his own upbringing in a world of millworkers. Mixed emotions pull Benny in all directions, and he struggles to find where he fits in – if at all. And just when I thought Lamb was on a steady path with Benny’s story, often funny, frequently hilarious, he surprised me with a twist I wasn’t expecting. I get the distinct impression that “Striking Out” was hidden in the dusty corners of Lamb’s mind all the years he worked in the newspapers business, and when he finally reached deep inside and collected his thoughts, out came this masterful, delightful novel. It is a brilliant debut, and I’m so glad Lamb continued to write. This book is out of print, so I bought it from a third-party seller. I’m so glad I did.