The title of Morgan’s sweeping yet intimate memoir refers to the lunch spot favored by the author and his small cadre of pals at Claremont High School in Southern California as the 1960s lurched into full swing. Written with the goal of passing to his daughters and other future Morgans a sense of what his early life was like—a sense that he wishes he had of his parents’ experiences—The Reject Bench is attentive to both the sweep of history in a decade that upended American life….but also to the texture of the everyday chatter and experiences…those of his family and fellow reject bench-ers. Morgan’s commemoration of both the epochal and the personal, especially through long, often amusing stretches of re-imagined dialogue, offers a fresh perspective on an era that has been often memorialized… That dialogue and Morgan’s clear relish of the era’s pop culture combine into a raucous yet tender portrait of coming of age in a time of change. The conversations zip past…until life—in the form of the draft board, a sword of Damocles hanging over all the boys—imposes an endpoint on this chapter of Morgan’s development and on this vivid, engaging history. Takeaway: A vivid evocation of what it felt like—and what everyone was talking about—when coming of age in 1960s Southern California.