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Larry’s Rock
A Novel by Edwin Shaw

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Larry is a really nice kid, he is very good at baseball, but Larry can’t read. When he gets to high school, the principal tells him that he can not play on the baseball team because he “does not try hard enough.” So Larry stops going to school. Larry gets a job as a janitor. He wears a uniform with his name on the pocket, but it is nothing like his baseball uniform. Larry gets involved with the Way Bads who dress in black and do not follow the teachings of the Good Man. Larry drinks the cloudy liquids with them, he smokes the sticky pills, and by the time chapter 2 ends, Larry has been sent to prison for the rest of his life. In prison, Larry teaches himself to read the Book of Be Good, because there really isn’t anything else to do. When he finds a pencil, he starts erasing the words out of the Book of Be Good, and writing his own poems in their place. He rips these poems out of the Book of Be Good, folds them into paper airplanes and flies them out the window. The second half of Larry’s Rock is about five of the one hundred or so people, each of whom finds one of Larry’s poems; Clairise the lazy girl, Rocky the alcoholic, Emo the crazy boy, Lana the angry paraplegic (she was hit by a drunk driver) and Agnes who is just very old. Each of these people have their life changed by the poem they find, each of them is touched by Larry, so that at the end of the book, when Larry dies, these five and many other people have been healed in response to his poems. And Larry is at last forgiven.


 

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