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Outside Providence


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About the Author

Peter Farrelly was born in 1957 in Cumberland, Rhode Island, USA, and graduated from Providence College. In 1994 he co-wrote (with his brother Bobby) and directed the hit film comedy Dumb and Dumber. He and Bobby then co-directed Kingpin (1996) and shared both writing and directing duties on There's Something About Mary (1998), Me, Myself and Irene (2000) and Osmosis Jones (2001). Peter Farrelly has written two novels - Outside Providence, which was adapted for the cinema in 1999, and The Comedy Writer.


After growing up in Pawtucket, a blue-collar Rhode Island town, Timothy Dunphy is shipped off to an Episcopal prep school called Cornwall Academy in Connecticut. It is 1974, Dunphy is 16, and the game is to cut up as much as possible without getting caught. But amid drugged-out days and alcohol-soaked nights, the appealing Dunphy struggles with his two vividly depicted milieus: in gritty Pawtucket, his father continues to be abusive, and a close friend, Mousy Town, dies in a mysterious car accident, while back at school, vindictive administrators pile on punishments, former girlfriend S. D. Stuart commits suicide, and Dunphy tries to stay afloat among his spoiled, backstabbing fellow students. The one bright spot is Jane Weston, his girlfriend, but even their romance shatters, weeks before graduation. Things pick up for a bittersweet ending as Dunphyhaving learned the hard way not to trust his classmate, the charming Jack Raffertyadmits his love for his father and agrees to be friends with Jane. From the slang-filled, first-person narrative to the boarding-school atmosphere, even to details like a love interest named Jane, this debut is reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye, and, like Catcher, seems most appropriate for adolescents and college students. While Farrelly has written a humorous, sensitive and quite promising coming-of-age story, adults are likely to become impatient with the incessant profanity, drugs and alcohol, and the somewhat simplistic and obvious aspects. (April)

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