Al Riske | Sabrina’s Window (Luminis)


book sabrinas-windowYou become entangled in their lives, cringing when they miss an opportunity or make a bad emotional decision.



Sabrina’s Window, Al Riske’s first novel (he previously published a book of short stories), is a fairly straightforward yet entertaining read. What you see is what you get, as evidenced by the book’s first sentence: “The boy who broke Sabrina’s window stood on the stoop, shivering.” Two paragraphs later, he admits to the homeowner, “I broke your window,” to which she replies, “So I see.”

And thus begins the unlikely friendship between a 17-year-old boy and a 31-year-old single woman, as Joshua sets out to redeem himself by working off the damage by performing a series of odd jobs around Sabrina’s house. Once his debt is paid, he continues to help her, finding a kindred soul and a place of comfort and escape.

Oh, sure, Sabrina has a boyfriend, Barry, with whom she seems bored. After all, she can’t stop pining for her promiscuous ex-, Wheeler. He, too, seems hung up on the relationship, making Prince Charming-like gestures to prove he has matured and wants to be more than just old friends. On his end, Joshua is dating Ronni…or is he? Turns out she’s a typical high school girl, not knowing quite what she wants or from whom.

Through all this emotional upheaval, Sabrina and Joshua become unlikely yet quite good friends. As you read, you become entangled in their lives, cringing when they miss an opportunity or make a bad emotional decision. You also find yourself—wrongly, guiltily, I know, but all the same—wanting these two to get together. They get each other in ways that no one else does. What if they were different ages? Would she wait for him?

Soon, a scandal arises in the pair’s small town: Sabrina is pegged as a cradle robber, rightly or wrongly. This accusation has an effect on both parties’ lives, including their reputations and how their significant others (of the moment) perceive them.

If you’re one for action and adventure, Sabrina’s Window is most definitely not the book for you. Rather than things “happening,” emotions unfold. Ultimately, the book becomes a not-quite-perfect character study of two people of different genders and age groups who find common ground and grow from it. It’s a quiet story, to be sure, but one that will keep you turning the pages until its mostly rewarding conclusion. B | Laura Hamlett

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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