Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rally Round the Flag, Boys!

By Max Shulman

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that the U.S. Army wants to install a missile base on the outskirts of Putnam's Landing, Connecticut, a commuter community near New York City? Of course, there are those for and against. But young Lieut. Guido DiMaggio manages to sweet talk the locals, and, in short order, Putnam's Landing has a missile base. But that doesn't mean everything is all peachy-keen, especially when the soldiers start making time with the local maidens, putting their teenage rivals collective noses completely out of joint. Trouble is brewing and tempers are flaring and the Fourth of July is shaping up to be even more "explosive" than usual.

Although it is nominally about the conflict between the locals and the military, much of the story is taken up with Harry Bannerman and his wife, Grace. Grace is an enthusiastic participant in all things civic, while Harry is yearning for the good old days back in NYC before the arrival of the kids and the house and all the responsibilities he so much resents. His resentment and immaturity lead him into and ill-advised affair with a man-hungry local housewife who is looking for a new hubby to replace the current one.
Also featured are the aforementioned DiMaggio, who is enamored of a local girl, Maggie, a young school teacher who has recently been fired for teaching her second graders about sex, with helpful illustrations.
Parts of the story were mildly amusing and the big Fourth of July debacle at the of the story was really funny, but overall it really didn't appeal to me much.

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