Cheevey, the novel, is probably the best work of author/screenwriter Gerald DiPego
It paints a spectacular picture of emotional honesty and elegance
in maturity, telling the story of Cheevey and his family. Cheevey paints miniature lead soldiers and runs on long legs wherever he needs to go. California in the 90's, and he is his family's conscience and confessor.
On the edge of slipping into twenty, Cheevey and his family are struggling with hints of motion and unrest. There is his slacker older brother, there is the brother-in-law, and all sorts of distrustful undercurrents. Also there is their mother who leaves her family behind, and two beautiful older women who somehow end up in Cheevey’s life.
And then there are Mari and Bally, Cheevey’s sister and her son. DiPego quickly sketches Mari for us (not by half, though, it is a clear sketch that leaves you wondering how it happened so lightning fast), Mari whose mental balance is suddenly teetering on the verge of delusional, and Cheevey’s fierce love and loyalty to both her and Bally. DiPego keeps going and easily shows us the painfully beautiful relationship between the two boys, one five and one twenty. The uncle four times the age of the younger one and both are hundreds of years older than they should be. This pair could make you cry with their clear clear understanding and gravity.
The novel is written in clear direct prose and a graceful narrative that sometimes seems to be hanging by a loose thread. Tenuous, almost delicate - stretched thinly over a deep empty space where you fear you will fall fall fall or maybe swim forever in a family gone awry and a strong boy carrying whomever he can along with him, brave. The best part of this man DiPego has given us is he has crafted him with elegance and power.
Please please read it. Yes.
"Cheevey stays so consistently crush worthy that you may end up thinking you'd be the perfect person to ease his pain."
"This novel is so good it is almost perfect...DiPego's writing is as clear as a bell and its themes ring true across the text, embodied by plausible characters and a sound plot. Yet his ability to do much more, most of all to convey not love which is missing but love which cannot be identified, is flawless."
-The London Times