Town Criers

Boys in the hood: "town teenagers at the end of the millennium"
photo: Andrew Ross
Boys in the hood: "town teenagers at the end of the millennium"

Details

'The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney's New Town'
By Andrew Ross
Ballantine, 340 pp., $25.95
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'Celebration, U.S.A.: Living in Disney's Brave New Town'
By Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins
Henry Holt, 342 pp., $25
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If you're on an urban-studies jag, or something, read both. At the very least, they're an interesting study in synoptic narrative. As it happens, Ross'sstint in Celebration overlapped in its entirety with Frantz and Collins's. The books share enough common scenes to give the discerning reader a clear picture of the numerous awkward encounters the authors must have had. The richest was surely at the Red Rose Ball, a townwide charity event that Frantz and Collins attended as guests and Ross attended as volunteer staff. Did the moment ever arrive when the formally attired couple were obliged to accept a canapé from their pierced rival's proffered tray? We can only hope. But now, imagine it from the perspective of the other Celebrationites in the room, pinned, as they were throughout the year, in the parallax gaze of these two sympathetic, intelligent, but nonetheless voraciously surveillant research projects. Talk about your willies. The scenes that lie between these books may ultimately portray the current commingling of real life and spectacle more vividly than anything written down in them.

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