HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: An Irresistible Story of Love…Jeremy
Author: John Minahan
Publisher: Bantam, republished in 1976
ISBN-13: 978-0859400312 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 085940031X (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0553105490 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0553105493 (Paperback)
Language level: 5
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Adults only
Rating: * 1 star (VERY POOR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Minahan, John. An Irresistible Story of Love…Jeremy (published in 1973 by Fillmerverhuurkantoor; republished in 1975 by Bantam Books Inc., 666 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY 10019). Jeremy Jones is a fifteen year old Jewish boy who lives with his father, an assistant vice president of advertising and sales promotion at International Airways, and mother in a six-room apartment on the West Side of New York City. An only child, Jeremy is a sophomore at the School of Performing Arts where he is studying the cello with the intention of becoming a professional musician. His best friend at school is Ralph Manzonni. In addition, he likes to watch the horses at Belmont Park, walks dogs for Budd’s Dog Watchers to make money for his private cello lessons, listens to rock music, and has never shown an interest in girls. However, one day, while looking in empty classrooms to find a piece of chalk, he meets Susan Rollins, a new girl who has just moved from Detroit, MI, to New York and is studying to be a dancer. Something clicks between them, yet Jeremy later sees her in the company of a boy named Danny. It takes a while, but finally, with encouragement from Ralph, Jeremy works up the courage to ask Susan for a date. How does she respond? Where will they go? And what kind of relationship will develop between them?
The back cover says, “Now an award-winning motion picture from United Artists.” There seems to be some question as to whether the book or the movie came first, but I would guess that the movie was based on the book. It is a very seventies-ish type of story that is heavily psychological and ends, in my opinion, without a really satisfying conclusion. The language is quite bad. In addition to some common euphemisms, there is a great deal of cursing, with the “d” and “h” words used frequently; profanity, with the terms “God,” “Jesus,” and “Christ” often found as exclamations; and even some vulgarity, including a few instances of the “s” word. Variety described the film as “veering away from the politico and drug culture so prominent in youth pictures,” although Jeremy does refer to times when he was stoned by smoking grass, popping pills, or getting drunk. While it may, for the most part, veer away from politics and drugs, it certainly does not veer away from the sexual. Jeremy talks about his “sexual fantasies” and even mentions masturbation. So, do Jeremy and Susan have sex, or in other words, commit fornication? There is a scene in the book where one might think so. Jeremy’s parents are out, Susan comes over, and the two are alone in his room playing chess. Then they begin kissing. Next Jeremy says, “But when we realized it was going to be more than that, much more, we were somehow awkward and shy with one another, perhaps even frightened, knowing that the first experience could not be easy….Somehow, we made the first time last.”
Later, remembering that time, he talked about, “how it felt to discover her whole body for the first time, to touch gently, to know that it was all right to do that and not something to be embarrassed about or ashamed about or to feel guilty about doing” and “that our bodies were d*** beautiful and should be appreciated by both of us to the fullest.” Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps the author intended to leave it ambiguous to allow readers to use their imaginations and draw their own conclusions. Also, several references to smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol appear. I do not know if the film was any different from the book, but since Variety called it a “youth picture,” one might assume that the book is intended as a “youth novel.” The book lists the reading level as “8-adult.” I don’t know whether that means age 8 or grade 8, but I certainly don’t recommend it for any young people, and really don’t recommend it for anyone else either. Again, the back cover says, “As tender and moving a love story as has ever been told.” Unfortunately, that is true only if one’s idea of “love” is a purely physical, emotional, hormone-based, lust-filled infatuation. True love is something much grander and more precious than that. Thumbs down on this one!