Sweet Dream Baby
by Sterling Watson

Do you have a book on your shelf that’s been there for . . . ever, that has traveled with you from place to place, that you’ve never read, and that you have no idea why you bought it . . . but you haven’t been able to bring yourself to toss it?

Such a book in my library was “Sweet Dream Baby.”  But no longer because I have now actually read all 342 pages of it, and still can’t understand quite why I bought it. The title obviously comes from the late ‘50s era song by Roy Orbison and helps set the scene when 12-year-old Travis spends the summer away from his home in Omaha and travels to the Florida Panhandle.

There he meets his sheriff grandfather and his 16-year-old Aunt Delia, easily the prettiest and sexiest girl in town. Like any good-looking teenaged girl, Delia has some boyfriend trouble, but finds herself very attracted to her good-looking nephew, and they spend almost every waking, and some sleeping, hours together.

It’s clear where that part of things is going, but then we find out that Travis and his grandfather have a protective attitude about Delia and that leads to all sorts of trouble. Of course some of the trouble is that Travis loses his virginity, but there’s more, much more . . . and if you want to know what that trouble is, you’ll have to get a copy for yourself . . . suffice it to say, you’ve likely not experienced this level of trouble . . . nor have I.

The book is well-structured and well-written. An enjoyable – at least to me – feature is Watson’s reliance on lyrics from songs of the 1950s to explain things and create segues.

PS — I later found out that a good friend of mine sent me the book years ago thinking I’d enjoy this author. I did!