I Will Call It Georgie’s Blues is an insightful study of adolescent life within a family in denial of reality. Reverend Sloane is concerned with maintaining the façade of a perfect family, and his efforts toward this perfection have damaging effects on his children.
Aileen dates Pete Cauthin, a nineteen-year-old still trying to graduate, and she is in danger of failing English even though that would mean more time at home when college could provide an escape. The younger, frightened Georgie is in danger of losing his grip on reality altogether. Neal is usually calmer in dealing with his father, although, at fifteen, he is growing less tolerant of his father’s overbearing methods. It is ironic that Neal is as tenacious at concealment as his father. As the novel opens, Neal’s two-year source of solace with “Mrs. T,” his piano teacher, is threatened. He has kept his music lessons a secret from his family and the townspeople, but his visits to his teacher’s home are beginning to raise questions.
While seeking access to Mrs. T and to the jazz that is his deliverance, Neal is swept into a swirling turmoil that is beyond his control. The earliest hints of this situation develop when he learns that Georgie has made a secret, on-credit purchase from grocer Mr. Bailey, a fact that Neal helps him conceal. He soon forgets about the incident as his mother tries to limit his visits to Mrs. T., and Mrs. T suggests that he reevaluate the secrecy and nature of his time with her.
Tension builds within the family as Reverend Sloane wrangles with Aileen. Neal inwardly applauds her defiance and begins to take stands against his father as well, such as refusing to mow the churchyard for free.
It is while he is on a secret approach to Mrs. T’s that Neal encounters Pete, who offers him a boat ride. As they ride, Pete makes lascivious remarks about Mrs. T, prompting a fight with Georgie. This incident wrecks the boat and heightens animosity between the boys, while also damaging...
(The entire section is 827 words.)