Monday, 23 June 2014

The Greatest Man in Cedar Hole - Stephanie Doyon

I had this on my shelves for a while and just thought it might be a good'un.  It was a lovely read, and I'm so glad I took no notice of the reviewer and Goodreads member who said "nothing happens".  Well - yes and no.

Set in a very small town in an unmentioned US state; where everyone knows everyone else, affairs are noted and talked about, people like it enough to live there, but don't hate it enough to leave, it covers the story of two boys and their families through a period of around 20 years.  But don't be tricked into thinking this is just a family chronicle, because it isn't. Two boys in class together but not friends:  Robert J Cutler, who is bright as a button, and from a dysfunctional family where Mom is holed up in the house and eating until she cannot go on; and Francis "Spud" Pinkham, from another kind of dysfunctional family altogether where several sisters born before him have perfected the art of bullying.  In the way that the film It's A Wonderful Life is a great example of how one person's life impacts on others, this too shows how people's lives are affected by the people around them.  But it's not too deep and soulful, and there are some wonderfully funny bits of conversation tucked in there too.  And in the end, the person you would least expect does become The Greatest Man in Cedar Hole.   Recommended to anyone who likes some soul.