Greg Palmer

You know those terrible coming-of-age novels and movies, the ones set to a ’60s soundtrack with a narrator who says, “That was the summer that everything changed,” and then his high-school buddies go off to die in ’Nam? The ones written by Stephen King and directed by Rob Reiner? Well Greg Palmer isn’t having any of that. The veteran local broadcaster and author (and erstwhile SW contributor) has humbly titled his memoir of ’65 Cheese Deluxe (Bennett & Hastings, $14.95), after his cooking specialty at an M.I. burger joint during his last summer before college. There are no antiwar demonstrations, no secret abortions, no declarations of “I love you, man” or catastrophic car crashes. (Though there is a chapter that’s essentially one long fender-bender, as Palmer and his buddies teach an inept friend to drive.) In a short series of well-told anecdotes, modesty is Palmer’s prevailing tone—one that TV viewers will recall from his days at KING 5 and PBS. He doesn’t lend any grand significance to hanging out at the Samoa with his pals. They get in trouble occasionally, but not very deep trouble; the only boldface name encountered is Roy Orbison; and Palmer always casts himself as observer, not protagonist. Each chapter reads like a radio script; and if the events here aren’t quite dramatic enough to be filmed (like Barry Levinson’s Diner, which Cheese Deluxe sometimes recalls), they’d be perfect to podcast. BRIAN MILLER Sun., Feb. 22, 3 p.m., 2009