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BLOG: A novel set in Sandusky

Tom Jackson • Apr 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM

I recently read Ty Roth's "So Shelly," a novel that's set in Sandusky. (The city is slightly fictionalized as "Ogontz," but it's clear where the setting is.) Roth is a local teacher.

The plot concerns the 19th century Romantic poets Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats, who in "So Shelly" are transformed into teenagers who attend a Catholic high school in Sandusky. Shelley is a girl this time.  Keats is the viewpoint character. The book is put out by Random House and is available through the usual vendors, in hardcover and electronic versions, such as Kindle and Google Books. Copies also are available from local libraries.

The novel isn't always kind in describing its setting. Here's how the Keats character introduces Sandusky to the reader:

"Ogontz, Ohio, is a worn-out notch on the rust belt that stretches beneath the bloated-from-economic-famine belly of the Great Lakes, from Detroit in the northwest to Buffalo in the northeast. It's a onetime blue-collar city -- too large to be quaint and too small to be worthy of note -- full of American dream-believing suckers, the middle class beneficiaries of the post-World War II manufacturing boom, especially in the auto industry. The past few decades, however, have seen that golden teat dry to a trickle. In desperation, Ogontz has chosen to prostitute its lakefront and transform itself into a resort town that caters to tourists, fishermen, boaters, and especially condo dwellers -- who are willing to mortgage their futures for a killer view and are willing to drop an occasional dollar on the community nightstand." (p.64)

The novel is being marketed as a young adult offering for teens, although it likely has more sex than the usual young adult fare. When I went through the first part of the novel to write this blog post, I counted six references to sexual incidents or sexual descriptions. This took me to page 21, in a 319 page novel.

Roth is currently working on another novel.

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