PRAISE AND REVIEWS
"On "20/20," on "Jerry Springer," it would be the stuff of tabloid heaven: sex between a teacher and her young student, scandal, disgrace, death. But C.W. Smith weaves this tale of woe and longing with sensitivity and restraint. As in all his novels, in "Gabriel's Eye" he looks past his characters' flaws to reveal the human condition in all its stubborn frailty. In Susan, the teacher, and Jeff, her student, Smith brings alive the yearning for passion, the ambivalent struggle against life's constraints, that have sparked countless falls from grace. Through their story he illuminates a truth that may be hard to face: no one is guiltless; within all of us are needs that can't quite be satisfied by the workaday world. In the respites we seek, in rare stolen moments of pleasure and beauty, we may be granted a glimpse of something finer than ordinary life can summon. But there will be a price to pay for it, and the world, like life itself, will eventually come tumbling down." ~
- "Ever been tempted to pursue a dalliance before solving or exiting your current relationship? This cautionary tale deftly explores the possible lifelong consequences of such an action. Exquisitely plotted and layered with psychological insight, C.W. Smith explores the motivations of two characters separated by age and station. Susan is a teacher and Jeff is one of her students. Susan, unfullfilled by life with her live-in lover Curt, baits the hook for Jeff and step by reversible step reels him in up to the point she chooses to return him to the water as a nonkeeper. However, the hook is in too deep for Jeff and the traitorous betrayal by one of his contemporaries leads to tragic results. You will not be finished with this book when you close the cover after the last page. For a time thereafter you will ponder the moral dilemma, knee-jerk religious cynicism, the attempt to fullfil emotional needs without, or despite, considering the consequences, and finally the possibility of redemption after a monumental struggle.
Reading this book reminded me that I was in love with June Allyson when I was twelve. Pity was June never knew. Or maybe that was a blessing." ~
From Publishers Weekly
Smith (Understanding Women; Uncle Dad) pulls the reader into a world of sexual longing and psychological introspection in this plainspoken but complex tale. The plot will catch the attention of anyone captivated by current headlines: Jeff, a 17-year-old boy, and Susan, his beautiful 28-year-old art teacher, develop a relationship that turns romantic and ends in tragedy. Jeff is a new student at the high school in Dallas where Susan teaches. When he slides shyly into a meeting of her after-school art club, she takes note: his awkwardness doesn't seem to match his preppy good looks. A shared ride home is the first in a series of increasingly flirtatious encounters. Susan offers to give Jeff private art lessons; she invites all her art students to a party at her apartment. Insecurity and her dissatisfaction with her live-in lover, Curt, push Susan into an ill-advised intimacy with Jeff; stumbling down the slippery slope of infatuation, she finds herself going much further than she ever intended. Just as Susan is ruing her rash behavior, a prank masterminded by one of Jeff's friends blows the lovers' cover and forces a desperate Jeff to act. Smith deserves kudos for her unflinchingly honest character portraits: Jeff is an inarticulate teenager, sensitive to peer pressure and obsessed with sex; Susan is a frustrated, self-absorbed woman. To her credit, Smith never exploits the sensationalism of Jeff and Susan's predicament, but the protagonists' unremitting unpleasantness deflects sympathy. Then, too, Smith's commitment to psychological accuracy turns detail to minutiae and casts a pall over the case study-like tale.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
READ AN EXCERPT | BUY THIS BOOK