The Kingdom of the Kid is a memorable portrait of an indelible childhood on Long Island’s South Fork from 1967 to 1972, when the Hamptons were still a middle-class paradise. In six short years, journalist Geoff Gehman was changed forever by a host of remarkable characters, including Carl Yastrzemski, his first baseball hero; Truman Capote, his first literary role model; race car champion Mark Donohue, who conquered a wicked track nicknamed “The Bridge”; Henry Austin “Austie” Clark Jr., fabled proprietor of a candy store of vintage vehicles; and Norman Jaffe, the notorious architect who designed a house seemingly built by masons from outer space.
Gehman’s childhood kingdom was ruled by his father, a boozing, schmoozing social bulldozer, who taught his son how to pitch, how to sing barbershop harmony, and how to mix with potato farmers and power brokers. Then, burdened by manic depression and bad investments, he abruptly ended his son’s reign on the East End by selling the family house in Wainscott without his wife’s permission.
The Kingdom of the Kid is not just another baby-boomer coming-of-age memoir about baseball, beaches, drive-in movies, rock ’n’ roll, fast cars, faster women, alcoholism, mental illness, divorce, suicide, and redemption. It’s a pilgrimage to a special place at a special time that taught a kid how to be special. It’s for anyone who has lived in the Hamptons or has wondered about living in the Hamptons, anyone who remembers the thrill of riding shotgun on the tailgate of a Ford LTD station wagon, anyone hungry for a juicy slice of Don McLean’s “American Pie.”
————————- www.sunypress.edu ————————-