Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sunday Meals and Snake Neckties

       As promised, another short tale for you to savor.
       We all have them, don't we, those stories handed down through family lore?  My grandmother tells the story of the time they put up Burma Shave type signs to get her brother to stop when her car broke down.  They wanted to make sure he didn't go whizzing by. And there's a tale about my grandfather's cousin who invented the Vice Grips while he worked for a manufacturing company. My grandfather got free seconds and the wrench became known as The Jeffryes Wrench in his neighborhood as in, "Let's go borrow the Jeffryes Wrench." Of course the invention was property of the manufacturing company and not of the man who invented it, but I digress. In our neighborhood, Mrs. Lunnon told the tale of her older sons who faked a murder-kidnapping just as a crowd was leaving the theater. This was when only one film was shown at a time so the crowd was big. The boys had to hide the car for weeks because the cops were looking for it. Don't you have similar stories to be told? And a good story teller can make them a fascinating read. Sunday Meals and Snake Neckties by Peggy Randall-Martin has the feeling of family lore, a captivating story about the life and times of regular people.

About the Book:
Available though Amazon

Carol Ann is a six year old child whose mother told her that the Japanese surrendered when they heard she was born. As with most children, Carol Ann takes this to the next step ---Maybe she was the cause of the war in the first place. What will happen to her should they find out?     
    Every Sunday she, her mother and her father travel to the farm to have a Sunday dinner with an extended family. The reader is introduced to not only the family but also the habits and lives of the members through Sunday vignettes full of everyday life but exciting nonetheless. There was a fire, there was a coyote, there was a baby's new first words. There was so much, all told as if the six to seven year old was telling the tale.

My Take:
    I loved this short tale. It took me back to my grandparents' farms. It reminded me of looking for falling stars, shucking corn, working in the machine shed, gathering eggs, huge lunchtime dinners, and a hundred other little details lost in my adult life.
    The characters in this book are memorable. The scenes so real you could live in them and believe they happened to you. The telling of the tale through the voice of a young girl was fantastic. Randall-Martin's total capture of the style and cadence of someone so young had me stunned. She knew exactly how and how much to tell so the story was clear for adult readers without accidentally aging her character. 
      Carol Ann is exactly what you expect a child of six to be - someone you love and root for and someone who needs a good set-to when they pull a prank or two. Her grandfather is a doter who knows more than Carol Ann could ever understand. Her parents are almost nonexistent in this tale but the reader will learn why. 
    Now don't go expecting some special plot with twists and turns. This is not that kind of tale. But if you like stories about a people, a place, and a time, don't pass this one up. It is a story of the high points, the type which make up family lore, during one summer of a child's life written exceptionally well.

My Recommendation:

I love this story and will read it again.  For less than the cost of a newsstand magazine you can get the best part - the novella - without the ads! This fiction tale is good for all ages and though there is some adult themes, all are through a child's eyes, making if perfect for all readers.

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