- 320 Pages
- November 2, 2021
- ISBN: 9781950994274
- Trim Size: 6in x 9in x 0in
Now a USA Today Bestseller! A sparkingly witty, poignant debut novel that is a Bright Lights, Big City for a post-Reagan, pre-Y2K Philadelphia—for readers of Normal People, Sweetbitter, Modern Lovers, and Less.
It’s September 1987. Charlie Green is an eighteen-year-old romantic and aspiring alcoholic, whose great wish is to fall in love with a light-eyed girl on his first day of college and never look back. Charlie believes in the magic of bars and girls. He believes he can use these talismans to finally feel at home, an assurance his dim and privileged childhood did not provide. At the Sansom Street Oyster House, he meets Paula Henderson, a beautiful and deceptively soulful waitress who is the most overqualified bar maid in all the city—and perhaps the most alluring.
But there are obstacles in the Philly night between Charlie and his full heart. Drunks, louts, boyfriends—heroes too. And in Paula’s eyes, Charlie becomes one. When she takes him home to New Hope, PA, to meet her very Catholic mother, the young couple must contend with the consequences of their pure love.
In this darkly comedic coming-of-age novel, Charlie Green needs to grow up fast. At stake is his soul.
"An archly comic love story with notes of farce and fable . . . Roberts' old-school, slightly surreal humor has a dash of Barthelme or Perelman.”—Kirkus Reviews
"A deeply felt coming-of-age story in the style of Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys or even a great John Hughes movie. And like Pretty in Pink or Some Kind of Wonderful, this poignant romance is set in the cynical and selfish 1980s, throwing the genuine sweetness of the characters into high relief. Bar Maid drinks its way through the angsty end of adolescence, lighting signal fires in the darkness with laugh-out-loud moments and unabashed sincerity."—Melissa Dalley, US Review of Books
"Set in the late 1980s, Bar Maid is an unashamedly male-centered coming-of-age story that has obvious literary antecedents in The Great Gatsby and The Catcher In the Rye."—IndieReader
“In this compelling coming-of-age story, Charlie Green has to overcome stifling privilege that threatens to stunt his capacity to feel. You may start out wanting to dislike him (too much money and booze), but you won’t be able to if you read past the first few pages. And you won’t be able to put this book down. Charlie Green is perceptive, laugh-out-loud funny, and endowed with a rare, honest tenderness. The author grants every one of his characters, great and small, their full humanity, but it’s the vivid, intelligent women who almost steal the book.Bar Maid is a vigorous assault on the current plague of cynicism, an unsentimental adventure that will surprise you and leave you feeling a little better about being human.”
—Janet Capron, author of Blue Money
"Daniel Roberts' rowdy and tender coming-of-age romp is proof positive that, even in the Ivy League, the best education is always found off-campus."—Denis O’Neill, screenwriter and author of The River Wild
"A snazzy, robust, sometimes hilarious novel about a kid 'stuck in the 80s, figuring stuff out.’”—Nick Lyons, author of Fire in the Straw