F Troop

As I've discovered at my book events, Across the River makes for some lively conversations—about childhood friends, family secrets, those nasty celebrity tabloids, and all things New Jersey. The evening usually ends with everyone singing the theme song from F Troop or other childhood TV shows.Since I hate to miss all the fun, can I join in? Drop me a line at cheryl@chesol.com if you'd like me to attend your group discussion, in person or by phone.

Suggested Discussions

Bill Clinton
  • Across the River is set in the summer of 1992, right before Bill Clinton's election. The time frame is neither contemporary nor historical. How does this era affect the plot? How would setting it in present-day change the story? Do you wish Bill Clinton were still President? (Gas was 99 cents a gallon then, remember!)
  • After losing respectable employment, Andie Rinaldi takes an editorial position at a celebrity tabloid, The Moon, out of desperation. Have you ever had a job that you were ashamed of? How did you rationalize your work?
  • Across the River contains many Baby Boomer references—from TV, film, music—that are still recognizable to younger generations. What impact has that era had on today's pop culture? Why has it had such staying power?
  • National EnquirerAndie breaks a major story for her "sleazy" employer. Do you read publications like The National Enquirer or The Star? Do you believe what you read? How has the role of tabloids and celebrity journalism changed the news industry?
  • Andie gets help in her investigations from her twin sister, Cat, who suffers from bipolar disorder as well as OCD, like TV's Monk. Are you aware of the problems faced by those who suffer from mental illnesses and their caregivers? How realistically are mental-health issues portrayed in TV shows and films?
  • Across the River depicts several different types of families. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? What does "family" mean to you?
  • Classmates.com logoAndie rediscovers a connection to old friends that she thought she had left far behind. Do you keep in touch with pals from your childhood? Have you signed on to Classmates.com or other Web sites to find past friends or flames? How do you think your grammar-school classmates turned out?

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    || Web-site design and content copyright © 2009 Cheryl Solimini
    Book jacket photo by Chris Lupetti, copyright © 2009 Chris Lupetti
    Cover design by Cheryl Bochniewicz


    Party like it's 1992 or 1972 or 1962

    To get in the mood, go retro:
    Pixy Stix

  • Dust off that Magic 8 Ball, Slinky or Mystery Date—bring Baby Boomer toys and games that are making a comeback or have never left the scene.
  • Class of 1970Serve kid foods (tuna casserole, fish sticks, English muffin pizzas) and beverages (Yoo-hoo, Kool-Aid, Tang or High C, anyone?) from the '60s or your own era.
  • Pixy StixLoad up on candies from your childhood. Perhaps everyone can bring their favorite—from Almond Joy to Zagnut. Don't forget the Pixy Stix but save them for after Chapter 15!

  • If you'd like some real Baby Boomer treats, check out the Old Time Candy Co. This is my go-to supplier for Pixy Stix, NECCO Candy Necklaces and other giveaways at my book events.

    Candy you ate as a kid® Wax Lips, Candy Buttons, BB Bats, Wax Bottles, Sky Bars, Candy Cigarettes, Zagnuts, Necco Wafers... over 350 fresh candies from the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s—still available after all these years!