Fred’s Way is a coming-of-age novel about a young man torn between going off to college to become an ordained Lutheran pastor or staying home in Chicago to marry his high school sweetheart. It resonates with the agony of someone trying desperately—and often comically—to find his role in a society that refuses to fit his innocent expectations. The central character, Fred Hansen, is at root a mystic, alive to the wonder and glory of life. Like a latter-day Don Quixote, he’s never quite in synch with what others call reality, including the scientific world view of his premed roommate, Jimbo; the commonsense practicality of his girlfriend, Patsy; the argumentative mindset of Catherine Coyle, an attractive classmate with whom he gets entangled; or the spontaneous (and somewhat improvident) habits of Corning, a red-haired art major who lives down the hall. Fred’s Way recaptures the torrent of changes sweeping through America at the start of the 1960s and gently explores the heartaches and triumphs we all encounter in the process of trying to find our place in the world.