The Every Boy (Paperback)

By Dana Adam Shapiro

Mariner Books, 9780618773404, 211pp.

Publication Date: February 1, 2007



In this addictive and highly original debut novel a fifteen-year-old boy dies mysteriously, leaving behind a secret ledger filled with his darkly comic confessions. Whether fantasizing about being a minority, breaking into his neighbors' homes, or gunning down an exotic bird, Henry Every's wayward quest for betterment sometimes bordered on the criminal. Alone now in their suburban house, his father pores over the ledger in a final attempt to connect with the boy he never really knew--and, more urgently, to figure out how he died. As Harlan Every learns the truth about his son's many misadventures and transgressions, he also discovers the part he unwittingly played in Henry's tragic death and the real reason his wife walked out years ago. The story grows into two parallel love stories--one past, one present--with drastically different outcomes.

Witty and wise, The Every Boy is a page-turning mystery, a love story, an exploration of what it means to be a family, and a one-of-a kind celebration of human individuality.

Praise For The Every Boy

"A sweet, melancholy first many young writers have been described as Salingeresque that it's a shock to come across one who actually fits the bill." --Tom Perotta, author of Little Children

"A terrific writer with an unerring sense of how confusing it is to be 15 years old." The New York Times Book Review

"A magical, haunting, hilarious debut." --Amy Sedaris

"Anything but ordinary...You could black out every other paragraph in The Every Boy and it would still outcharm Catcher in the Rye." TimeOut New York

"Perversely funny." The New York Daily News

"Henry's mid-novel trip to New York cements the inevitable Holden Caufield parallel, but given Shapiro's coporeal take on youthful alienation, Gregor Samsa might be just as relevant." The Village Voice

"Full of charm and eccentricity." The Arizona Republic

"True to his surname, Henry's confessions record his conflicted progress through the stations of adolescence, the agonies all young people suffer as they struggle with Big Issues of growing up: how to fit in without relinquishing the right to be different, how to know whom to trust and whom to love, how to forgive our parents for the unforgiveable things they do to us." Boston Globe

"Remarkably buoyant and witty...[and] unsentimentally perceptive and optimistic about the oddness and difficulty and even, sometimes, the joy of being a human among humans." --Matthew Sharpe, author of The Sleeping Father