Weaver, Will. Full Service. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005. ISBN 978-0374324858 240 pp. 240 $20
Farmer boy Paul decides to get a job in town even though he really can’t be spared; mom supports him because she thinks he needs exposure to real people and the real world beyond the isolating life on the farm. He lands a job at a Shell Oil Station, where his training on the essential points of Shell Service come with an urban legend that Mr. Shell could show up anytime and award a money prize on the spot to an employee who demonstrates above and beyond customer service in the Shell way.
A number of characters pull into the gas station in the summer of ’65. Paul meets hippies, popular crowd schoolmates, a hit man and regular folks too, and accomplishes his mother’s goal of “meeting the public” in eye-opening fashion. The setting is a vehicle to show a gap in attitude between Paul and his father, and also demonstrates that everything changes, it all stays the same. Parents want their children to lead better lives, everyone remembers the impact of their first job, and sometimes, that guy or girl you like likes someone else … but you like him or her too much not to help him or get the one s/he loves.
This coming of age story has a place in most library collections.