self-published via Xlibris
The saga of 12 years in the life of a rural boy, born in a bawdy house, living in extreme poverty with his mother in the poorest part of a southern Arkansas town. Drew observes his mother entertaining numerous ‘uncles’. When one of those uncles becomes abusive toward Drew, and then later attempts male rape, Drew feels he has no other choice than to run away.
I am reviewing this for the Online Book Club. Never Cry Again is Drew’s story, starting in the US rural backwaters of the Great Depression, through to the end of World War Two and beyond. This is often a setting for a rags to riches type of story. But in this case, the riches are more Drew’s survival and rising beyond the troubles surrounding him over the years.
I noticed in the preface that Cole has acknowledged the help of an editor in guiding the final polishing and structuring of the narrative. And I am always glad to see something like that as those independent eyes can really add value to the development of a story.
No doubt at least in part due to that editing process, the narrative and the text flow well. Through Drew’s story we get a good glimpse into that life of the 1930s. For someone like myself who hasn’t lived through things such as racial segregation and blatant discrimination, this was an interesting as well as a nicely constructed portrayal of that environment. I also liked the way that the overall era and characters were presented with a sense of truth to the times.
There were some things I did not like so much. At times, there were large passages of exposition telling us things. Passages like that tend to lose me pretty quickly, even if they have technically been written pretty well as in this case. And in the latter part of the story, I felt things were coming a little too easily to Drew. For example, as a little more than a child, he was given a radio show for little reason. It proved relevant for later parts of the story but I never quite got away from the sense of why this had even developed.
Overall I found this a well constructed story with an interesting array of characters, nicely reflecting the period and settings in which it was portray.
For Online Book Club: three out of four