Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1938)

Risking becoming a crazy Fante-phile, I began reading my second Bandini book last week as a little break from working on finals. Like Bukowski's Ham On Rye (1982), the story focuses on childhood, dysfunctional families, and coming of age.

The story is mostly told from the younger Bandini's point of view, but shifts to his father's point of view-- showing that the generations are not so different. The novel also explores the hopelessness of love but with and interesting twist-- Bandini does not know whether to be mad at his father Svevo for cheating on his mother and leaving the family, or proud of him for being with the richest, blonde American woman in town.

The climax in this transition from boy to man for Bandini is affected by having to decide which of his parents is right and which is just weak. His father Svevo works (sometimes) as a bricklayer, smokes cigar stubs, and gambles and drinks away his family's money, and of course his mother is a saint-- white, pure, and scrubbed clean. I think Bandini does realize that both of his parents are strong individuals in very different ways, but he also begins to see that undeniably he is his father's son.

The title comes from Bandini's love for baseball-- he wants to begin playing as soon at the snow melts from the grass on most of the field, but the other boys roll their eyes and tell him to wait until spring.

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