Growing up and living in a family with an alcoholic father can be particularly difficult. This is one of the central themes in the short story “Reunion” written by John Cheever. It was published in 1962 and became later in 1978 a part of John Cheever’s short story collection “The Stories of John Cheever”.
The American writer and author John Cheever was born in May 1912, in Quincy, Massachusetts and died in June 1982. Cheever grew up with a shoe salesman father who fell on hard times and began drinking, and a mother to keep the family from the streets had to open a gift shop.
Cheever lost himself to a 20-year period struggling with alcoholism, self-loathing and a massive heart attack. He survived and had after a long period of recovery been writing a novel which draws on his experiences. Some of Cheever’s journals reveal that he had questioned his sexual preferences and identity through his life.
The boy Charlie in this short story with unknown age is waiting in Grand Central Station to reunite about lunchtime with his father whom he has not seen for 3 years – since his mother divorced him. The story takes place in New York.
Charlie and his father go from restaurant to another restaurant because the father is acting rude and is asked to leave. With every new restaurant they went to, the father’s behaviour progressively gets worse and more embarrassing. It ends with a disappointed Charlie who tries to reach his train and to forget he even met up with his dad.