Title: Roller Rink Starlight: A Memoir
Author: William Hart
Genre: Coming of Age, Roller skating, Memoir
William Hart’s true coming of age memoir begins when at fourteen he joins an amateur roller racing team comprised of both sexes and loaded with RSROA national champions. A varsity sprinter in track, he soon excels at speed skating. Insiders know roller rinks are conspiracies to turn singles into couples. The main storyline follows Hart’s early education in romance—piquant, humorous, harrowing, and laced with major life lessons. The setting: Wichita, Kansas, early 1960s, when the sexual repression of the 50s still prevails, except in rare zones of marked liberation. Adults have their watering holes, teens the rink, where they can experiment with their budding sexualities. Immersed in powerful mood music they glide in pairs through darkness under stars and make out in the bleachers. Falling in love is ridiculously easy, as we see in the adventures of teammates, parents, and certainly the author. Hart fell hard for a gifted racer, his kindred spirit, costar of many of his most indelible memories. This sports memoir about love and roller skating chronicles poignantly the ecstasies and perils of 60s high school romance against a backdrop of flat-out athletic competition. Roller Rink Starlight is nostalgic nonfiction for seniors and educational nonfiction for young adults interested in love and sex in another time.
A memoir that will resonate with those whose youth was spent in the late '50s and '60s. As I read, I wondered what was the point of the story? What you realize is the story is the point. This is a tale of a young man's journey from almost primal youth to disaffected adult.
There is a moral to this story: if you focus on one thing, you will miss the big picture. As this book flows, my mind drifted to the title song from the Boss' album in 1980. Bill thought his girlfriend was beautiful, but he wanted intimacy. He found intimacy and that was all she wrote. For his 18th birthday, he got a marriage license and...
This book would be important reading for every kid who's thirteen. If every youth could read this book, they just might reconsider their thought processes as they stumble towards adulthood.
The book is well-formatted and flows easily. This book is a memoir that almost reads like a diary. I also think a moral here is that Bill didn't realize what he had ‘til it was gone.
If you want a very accurate read about life in the 1950s, get this book. If you like to reminisce about the mid 20th century, pick up this book. If you are someone who whiled away their youth at a roller rink, buy this book. A book that tells a tale that will be of interest to many people.
My Rating: 5 stars
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William Hart is a novelist and poet living in Los Angeles. He writes while helping produce the documentaries of PBS filmmaker Jayasri Majumdar, his wife. Hart's work has appeared in several hundred literary journals, commercial magazines, newspapers and anthologies, and fourteen books.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N