3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2008
Sandra Graham has woven the classic orphan adventure tale that makes it seem as if it was an everyman's tale. In reading this novel I began to think through stories in my own family that had as many stops and starts and twists as that of Amos Jakey. These are the stories we'd hear at our great aunts' knees.
Amos Jakey was an ill- fated child who lost his mother at eight years old when she gave birth to his younger sister. A very short while later Amos lost his father to the grief of being without his life's mate. The plot here takes very unusual twists. Amos Jakey was found by some Mexican laborers, one of whom, Mequidez - affectionately known as "Mel" took Amos under his wing and brought him to a new life in Eagle Pass, Southwestern Texas.
It was here under the tutelage of Luis Perez and is wife Vikki, the owners of the ranch, where Amos Jakey was brought to by Mel that the little cowboy learned his horsemanship, a trade that would become his life's love. Amos was to grow up spending his formative years on this ranch and have many great adventures there, from wild horse round ups to capturing a murderous outlaw, who was working on the ranch and going alone on a rescue mission when one of Luis's daughters, Cheyenne, was abducted and taken deep into Mexico. But as Amos matured and finally realized that he loved Cheyenne, as she said she loved Amos, he'd learn his first lesson in heartbreaks. Her heart would be stolen by another ranch hand, Amos was to be number two. This caused Amos Jakey to leave in the night -the only home he knew.
When he left, Amos's intended destination was Bakersfield, California, where he believed his father's favorite brother Frank had been destined. But as it happens, fate stepped in and Amos found himself working on a thoroughbred ranch in New Mexico, beguiled by the owners' daughter and again taken under the wing of Mr. Graham, Amos Jakey's new employer and teacher. But this arrangement led to a long-term ill begotten engagement with Mr. Graham's daughter that ended in death for two people almost had a treacherous ending for Amos himself.
Thus Amos continued his trek towards Bakersfield, but this time winding up in San Diego, taking a watchman's job at a beachside hotel and befriending a young girl with an entrepreneurial spirit and her grandmother. When the young girl's grandmother suddenly died leaving this child with no known relatives, Amos and the hotel owner stepped in and claimed the child as family - making Amos himself the guardian of the girl. Of course, this new familial responsibility caused Amos Jakey to grow roots, however shallow, in San Diego until the child grew into a woman an married a young lawyer. In Amos's early San Diego years he had befriended a local rancher who allowed Amos to ride his horses whenever he liked. And through his horseback riding on the beach Amos met a young woman who changed his life forever...
And no, there is not a romantic twist here as I just made it sound. But to go any further in this part of the story, which leads to Amos's return to Arkansas after thirty-eight years, would be unfair and give away the power of Sandra Graham's ending. You will need to read it yourself.
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed Amos Jakey and I can think of lots of other folks back home who would too. This is a story of the common man - a story I believe we all can relate to. It is a story that could have happened in your own family. And speaking of family, I am going to send some of my family members a few copies of Sandra Graham's book!