I have been reading. Jay picked up several books and left a few Robert B. Parker books. He left one called "Double Play"
This is one of Robert B. Parker’s best books. It deviates from the Spenser novels in that the main character is new to the reader. We don’t quite understand Burke’s history. The story is simple. An 18 year old ships off to war, he returns barely alive. After recovering, he finds his life in shambles and takes a job boxing. Slowly this job evolves to a "persuader" for people to pay their gambling debts to being a body guard. After being fired from one job, he is offered a very difficult assignment: Be the bodyguard for Jackie Robinson, the first black player in the National League.
If you are familiar with the Spenser books, then you know Parker’s style. His heroes are stiff in business and soft in bed. They love their women, but know how to distance themselves from the job. In the Spenser series, the sidekick is Hawke, a large black man whose street smarts and fighting style compliments Spenser. Hawke is no dummy, he is well read and well heeled, when he wants to be.
This book explores a whole other side of the black and white culture. It is fascinating to read how Burke and Jackie get along, work together, hail cabbies, eat together.
Interspersed in the story are chapters that are simply labeled "Bobby". It took me three of these to realize that Parker was referring to himself. These chapters are oddly disturbing. They change the story. The views of the culture after the war and the culture during the war were disturbing. Hearing how his parents wouldn’t sell their home to a Jewish family because it would "betray the neighbors" was upsetting.
But I think Parker nailed it with this quote:
The culture presented premenopausal women as girls
This phrase has stayed with me. Is this the problem we have in our society with female equality? That men think of women as no more than large girls? Is this what people who are now in their 60s and 70s were taught? How about in the 50s and 60s? I think late 60s was the change.
I am not a girl. I am a woman. I have change my own tire (with the right tools). I can take out the trash. I pump my own gas. I put up drywall. I do not kill spiders, but that’s a phobia, not a female thing. I bleed once a month for a week and live. I don’t need protection from a man, I need love and companionship.
Today, what does woman mean? I hear people call women "girls". "Girls’ night out" (No! Women’s night out! I am not a girl!) "The girls and I are getting together." "The girl at my office."
What does woman mean? I am careful to call any female over 18 a woman. She is legally an adult (except for drinking because our country is insane), she’s a woman. What does woman mean to you?