Oliver Pepper's Pickle
John C. Picardi
Camel Press, Aug 15 2011, $18.95
The past year has been hell for Oliver Pepper. First his wife miscarries. Then she tells him she is leaving him as she has had a cyber affair while he has become a boring drunk. At Manhattan’s prestigious Bolton School for Girls he loses his Art History teaching position he has had for fifteen years for opening the shades and talking to some kid Franco from the loser public school across the street.
His sister and her New Age BF are driving him crazy with their crazy advice. Other family and friends recommend even loonier tips from the insane self-help book: “The Castration of the 20th Century Man: How to Grow a New Set for the 21st Century”. At AA, he meets Rosa the principal and asks her out. She agrees with the stipulation he teach a class at her middle school. There he meets Cody and they become friends over Van Gogh.
Oliver Pepper's Pickle is a poignant coming of age tale of an adult who begins to find his muse when he meets troubled children like Franco and Cody. They, especially Cody, help Oliver come to grips with the death years ago of his father and how to cope during a midlife crises. Though the world does not revolve around how Oliver demands it move on his axis, John C. Picardi provides a winning upbeat character study.