WellesleyWeston Magazine

SUMMER 2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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164 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 4 david f leming can spend hours agonizing over the right word to convey precisely what he wants his readers to feel. But you'd never know that from his free-flowing and absorbing first novel for young readers, The Saturday Boy, published by Viking last year. Alternately funny and heart-wrenching, it is the story of 11-year-old Derek whose typical middle-school struggles are tougher to handle since eight months, one week, and four days ago when the US Army sent his dad back to Afghanistan to fly Apache helicopters. With his first novel, Fleming, 42, and a native of Weston, broke into one of bookselling's hottest markets: fiction for children and young adults. It was even selected as a 2014 Notable Children's Book by the American Library Association. But he didn't set out to write for that audience or any age group in particular. "It's just the voice that comes out when I sit down to write," he says. But maybe there's more to it. One has to admire how completely he gets inside the boy's head. It took Fleming six years to write the book. During that time, he and his wife, Kara, watched sons Aidan, 13, and Danny, 8, and the boys' friends grow through the bumpy child- hood years. The writer seems to be an astute observer who also has a talent for dredging up memories of his own. With some twists and turns, the stuff that stayed with him — more autobiographical than from his kids — became Derek's life. The story is filled with the frustra- tion of on-again/off-again friendships, classmates who goad him into trouble at school, and imaginary exploits with superheroes who make it possible to overcome the bad guys and feel safe. It's also about how much children need close family when tragedy strikes. As an author, Fleming recognizes how self-centered children can be, how tuned out or eas- ily diverted when adults have problems. When Derek's cool tattoo artist Aunt Josie comes to stay and take care of him and his mom, he doesn't ask many questions. And friends, well, they C O U R T E S Y O F D A V I D F L E M I N G A N D V I K I N G library reading belles-lettres literature bestsellers media authors The Saturday Boy J A N E T M E N D E L S O H N writer books 164-168_WWMb14_books_sat boy_v2_WellesleyWeston Magazine 4/25/14 12:13 PM Page 164

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