Sent to live in the humidity of rural Florida with his grandparents and his sixteen-year-old Aunt Delia for the summer, twelve-year-old Travis becomes absorbed in the closed ways of small-town life. Captivated by Delia, Travis watches her attempt to find a place for herself in the socially stunted, gossip-driven town. Delia's secrets go beyond what Travis can understand, but he believes that he alone can save her--a belief that not only forces him to grow up fast, but one that builds to a dangerous and disturbing climax. In trying to free Delia from her past, Travis leads her into a shocking present and a most uncertain future.
In a work at once honest, chilling and compulsively addictive, author Sterling Watson has created a time and place where rock 'n' roll hums from AM radios, steam rises from a secluded riverbed and violent summer storms threaten the peace of silent nights. Watson's characters are brought vividly to life through Travis's touching, powerful and intensely personal voice. A dark and evocative coming of age tale, Sweet Dream Baby begins steeped in innocence and ends in a dramatically different place.
"I can't remember a book that sneaked up and grabbed me the way Sweet Dream Baby did. It's a real shocker by a very good writer."
"Sterling Watson's Sweet Dream Baby is one of the finest novels I've read in years, an incandescent blend of gothic noir, Faulknerian dreamscape and bittersweet coming-of-age story. Months after reading it, it haunts me still."
"Sterling Watson's Sweet Dream Baby brings us the words and music, the tastes and smells of that special time--as well as its heartache and secret shame. I was utterly absorbed in these fierce pages."
--Fred Chappell, author of Look Back All the Green Valley
"Sweet Dream Baby is a beautiful book. Sterling Watson is surehanded and telling in a story that is as elegiac as it is gripping."
--Michael Connelly, author of Chasing the Dime
"Some delicious page-turning."--Kirkus Reviews
A Book Sense 76 Top 10 Selection
Named to Top Ten Crime Books of 2002, Toronto Globe and Mail
"Watson proves himself a first-rate storyteller."--Publishers Weekly
"A comprehensive work of art that is as thought-provoking as it is disturbing."--Orlando Sentinel