Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Living in a small town of large characters
Earlier this year, Joe Cottonwood released his book Boone Barnaby (now out of print) on podcast where it can be easily downloaded and enjoyed by the masses. Here's the SLJ review from 1992:
Boone Barnaby, the narrator of this warmly engaging story of innocence and experience, describes his relationship with his best friend, Danny; and Babcock, the new kid with one name who becomes the much needed eleventh player on their soccer team and a close, talented, and valued friend. Boone and his friends live in a run-down, near-coastal California town just across the mountain from the prosperous, Volvo-infested silicon valley where Boone's computer engineer father commutes to work. One of the book's most colorful characters is the soccer coach, who rides a Harley and fires his .44 magnum to start the team's trashathon fund raiser to clean up San Puerco. The town goose and a pack of dogs also play supporting roles, as does a redwood tree that looks over their small town and lends a helpful perspective. Hippies vs. yuppies, UFOs, discussions about the '60s draft, and drugs all enter into the mix as Boone and his friends struggle to find out what's fair--a theme that runs throughout the book. The resolution rights the wrongs, yet leaves open a variety of problems to be faced in the search for justice that will continue throughout the lives of these characters. A book that is resplendent with humor, irony, thoughtful introspection, and well-paced plotting.
I like what Joe had to say at his site about the book way more though:
There's some discussion of the Vietnam War as a less-than-noble endeavor. There's a father who smoked marijuana, didn't go crazy, and didn't go to jail. The word "fart" appears once. And one of Boone's friends has a "stepmom" who is living unwedded with a man. Shocking, isn't it? None of these items have much to do with a story that actually promotes rock solid family values. The book is in school libraries everywhere. Teachers read it aloud to their classes. Kids—and parents—send me e-mail saying "Thank you for writing this," and sometimes asking fascinating questions. It's for these things that I write, and keep on writing...
You can download a pdf of the book at Joe's site or catch the podcast here. You can also read the book's first chapter at Joe's site.