CAUGHT IN THE RYE eBook
"Caught in the Rye," a Novel by a Free Spirit...Who was Trapped Within
is a different sort of novel for me to promote. But then, is it really?
Something different is what we're about here, right?
It's a novel written by Jeff Oberlee, an old friend who contributed to the print OYB once upon a time.
It's a sweet youth story about growing up. It includes references
to "Catcher in the Rye" because that's what the kids of the story had
to read in school. But this novel shows a different way to grow up. It
defeats the cynicism of "Catcher."
It's full of references to 70's and 80's radio hit songs. Back when kids used to talk every day about the songs on the radio.
But here's the twist-and I suppose that in a sense it would be
best if I never brought it up. But really it's part of the story. Jeff
never wanted it played up, of course. But, hey, he really was a hero
here. So people say what they did anyway, even if it embarrasses them.
Ol' Oberlee was a nerdy lad in high school. He started to come into
his own in his first year of college, at MSU. But that's when he caught
Elephant Man's disease...on the inside, on his nerves.
Neurofibromatosis. Over the next few years his senses closed in on him.
He didn't look too different from the outside, but his nerves got all
tangled on the inside. His body shut down as well. He fought like a
relentless lion to keep his independence, first using a cane then
wheelchair. In the end, after he graduated from college he was only
able to slowly crawl around his apartment. Endlessly stubborn, never
giving an inch. Then he died.
He once wrote me a story for OYB about riding a wind-trainer for
exercise when he no longer had the balance for biking on the road-he
wrote about how travelled freely in his mind. He built his mind.
One of his favorite professors at MSU was also one of mine and
both of my brothers as well - Vince Lombardi. No lie. A real
character. But not a football fan.
But before ol' Oberlee left this world he wrote his novel. He never
did get his own chance for a girlfriend but he explored what that
would've been like.
He wrote while his body and senses were shutting down. He couldn't
hold a pencil. Then he got tunnel vision so he couldn't see a keyboard.
He became deaf. He input his novel using the slenderest of connections
to this physical world.
...A novel full of the love of music. And love of life. Full of the
bloom of young new relationship, friendship, challenge and respect.
It's a schoolkid novel. About friends, learning and adventure.
It took Oberlee years to write and input this novel-it was the one thing he did. His life work. 235 pages.