Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fiction Tuesday-Back in the Game

Don't judge a book by its cover.
When a new job takes Stanley Mercer to the small town of Legion, he expects a peaceful country life. Not shotgun pellets in his kitchen wallpaper, methamphetamine addicts knocking on his door, and the stench of hog lot lagoons. Falling in love with a married woman doesn't simplify matters either.

Sex in secret leads to more than he'd bargained for. Stanley is a schoolteacher, and his lover, Amy Rawlings, is the mother of one of his pupils. Amy is strong-minded and defends what she wants, not just for herself and for her methamphetamine-addicted husband, but also for her child, Ginny. It is a delicate and volatile situation.

While trying to keep up appearances, Stanley also becomes involved in the struggles of Jim and Christine Snow, two children in the special education program at his school, and he befriends Nelson, an angry divorced father. These people need him, and he needs them, in ways that will surprise and challenge Stanley.

Ultimately, Stanley Mercer must decide how much he will accommodate the everyday lies, the awkward truths, and the risks involved when respectable adults behave badly - including himself. Because the most vulnerable people in Legion are its children.

Humorous, poignant, and uncompromising, Back in the Game is the story of rural America in the era of globalization, a place where the old cliches of country life no longer apply, but the yearnings for connection, for community and for love still run strong.-book description

Breezy . . . satisfying . . . funny. --Publishers Weekly  

This book feels like a Paul Rudd kind of movie.

Charles Holdefer grew up on a farm in south-central Iowa. His previous novel, The Contractor, was an American Bookseller's Association Book Sense Pick. Other novels include, Nice and Apology for Big Rod. A graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop and the Sorbonne, he teaches at the University of Poitiers, France.

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book. And I'm glad I did. I love the quirkiness of its characters. Even the kids at school that Stanley gets to know. Its a slice of Americana that you don't see very often. 

I liked that it was such a character driven story. The story shed light from living in a small town to what everyday schools have to put up with, and how many have to wear many hats when it comes to teaching in a small town.

I felt the story didn't make rural life look drastically awful. Meth is rampant in rural areas. I've heard lots of stories on the news from where I live about the subject. As well as listening to my grandmother's stories about neighbors who have fallen into hard times, due to this epidemic.

Of course, perhaps this is a light read to some. And some might not feel Stanley's pain, who isn't exactly the perfect role model. Still, its a story that perhaps he can learn from within too as the story unfolds and the people who become a part of his life.



Cafe Fashionista said...

This sounds like an incredibly deep and moving novel; I definitely need to add it to my must-read list. :)

ivy's closet said...

I always love something that's Paul Rudd inspired!

meg said...

Such an interesting story. I saw Paul Rudd on Veronica Mars tonight.