Edisto by Padgett Powell
Simons Manigaults (said 'Simmons'), a unique manic child ('so far ahead he's behine') is worried. His mother ('The Doctor') and his father ('The Progenitor') have separated. She to pursue a Bohemian liberal lifestyle with her son, while the father occasionally comes to whisk off his son for more conventional weekends. Part of the mother's Bohemian lifestyle involves the 'coroners' - a series of suitors of a certain sort, but Simons has developed a successful technique (involving a telescope) to see these off. The latest coroner, however, is different. He has proved to be more of a stickler, and furthermore has chased off the mother's maid-of-all-work/nanny, Theenie, by unintentionally convincing her that he was her long- abandoned grandson. This means that The Doctor will now have to do without her 'holy folded linen and vacuumed floors' but this is not why Simons is worried. What exactly Simons is worried about comes on page 82:
'I'm worried about puberty.'
But it turns out that the latest coroner, who is given the name 'Taurus' by Simons, can help in this.
He smiled. 'Don't.'
Simons installs Taurus in Theenie's living quarters, an abandoned shack, the two strike up an unusual companionship, and Padgett Powell's novel begins.
Apart from being a highly entertaining coming-of-age, the book is a record of life in the south. It is an era before the stultifying effects of political correctness and has a raw honesty in consequence. Edisto is clever and sly and funny. The characters are quirky and memorable - like, I suspect, Padgett Powell himself.