on August 27, 2003
From Great Britain to the U.S., E. David Moulton's modern day, Rock and Roll combination of Mark Twain adventures and more subtle learning experiences spans five decades and is fast moving with creative twists and surprising spiritual turns. Main character Eddie Connor breaks into boyhood at full force dealing with the World War II bombing of London and an abusive, emotionally distant father while still managing to enjoy Tom Sawyer-like antics on the Thames and around town.
Moulton's unassuming, straight forward style of writing fills the pages with matter of fact points and clearly defined characters who are funny, artistic, and sometimes detestable. Eddie is a thinking man learning not to think too much. He is a passionate soul trying not to teeter too far over the edge into self destruction. His reasons and chosen paths are well explained and his fate is not always what he has in mind. His "less traveled" roads lead him away from the explosion of the music scene in which he is a natural leader and into much seedier worlds he never dreamed he'd have to be a part of.
Moulton conjures several believable guides along the way who not only come to Eddie's aid but are strong, peaceful reminders of what most of us naturally seek-a reason to be, a way to make a difference, and an inner peace.
The song lyrics throughout the book are not only entertaining and catchy but serve a non-superfluous purpose by adding to the plot's general flow. Though the main medium is music beginning before the famous "British Invasion" and continuing for decades
beyond, the main character has the ability to fade from one art form only to become prolific at another, which leads to the question, "Aren't all creative endeavors ultimately connected?" Moulton seems to think so and to prove so in his novel. As an author, he seems to be a believer in transcending 21st century popular sensationalism to embrace the desires and acccomplishments of a regular person with talent and dreams. However, there is no lack of imagination.
Eddie's accomplishments and mistakes are those of a hero and a human. He is fallible yet teachable. He is ten parts angry, emotional, and unrealistic in his expectations and ninety parts driven to become better in every way. In other words, he is the
characterization of a true artist. It is a pleasure to watch him cling to his expectations and to witness the creative influences and timing that shape this boy into a man.
on August 14, 2003
I bought this book out of curiosity because I am a musician and share the same last name as the author. It turned out to be one of the best books I have read in a long time. I can highly recommend it. The story of an English songwriter is riveting and holds the reader's attention page after page. I stayed up way past my bedtime on many occasions because I could not put it down. It reminded me a little of "Angela's Ashes" in the early part of the book but nowhere near as depressing. In fact this is an uplifting book that left me with nothing but good feelings. Dialogue is especially good and the authors use of the various English dialects is not overdone and is made easy for the American reader. It adds charm to the characters, as does the humor, which often comes in tense moments when you least expect it. Without giving away any of the book's secrets I will say I loved the ending and as I finished the last page and closed the book I said "wow" and sat there for a few minutes basking in the experience. Not too many books have had that effect on me.
on July 12, 2005
What got me hooked on this book was the E. David Moulton's direct, unornamented style of writing. It was so refreshing to read a work of fiction where the author doesn't stop the flow of the story while he describes the physical attributes of a person or spend pages describing a particular scene. The author skillfully feeds the reader small pieces of information as the story progresses. You still get a sense of place and grow to love or hate the various characters, but the story moves at a pace that keeps the reader wanting to turn the page. I am a musician which is what attracted me to this book in the first place; it being a fictional life story of a songwriter. As with a piece of music the most important thing is the melody; if you play too many notes you can't hear the melody. With a novel the most important thing is the story, and often too many words get in the way of the story. A great deal happens in this book's average length of 265 pages and some writers may have told this story with double the pages, but I doubt they could have told it better.
on September 5, 2004
This book defies categorization - it is a study of pop culture, a journey into spiritual awakening, a real world drama with an autobiographical context and a look deep into the culture of post-war England. What captured and held my attention in the book were the spiritual messages and the main character's roller-coaster ride from non-believer to believer. The descriptions of Eddie Conner's pain and suffering tugged at my heart. The characters in this book are both complex and believable. The era is captured in stark details. For some strange reason, while reading this book the images in my mind were never in color, always black and white. Prodigal Child will appeal to would-be musicians or those who have entertained dreams of being a musician as well as those who have learned the hard way how difficult life can be. The author writes in a direct style that shows a determination to take you with him on his quest to paint a rainbow.
on September 22, 2003
Alternately heart warming and heart wrenching, Prodigal Child explores the life of Eddie Conner, whose superb talent is matched only by the obstacles he encounters on his journey through self-hood. Although unfortunate circumstances plague his youth, Eddie carries with him the seed of a curious philosophy planted by a childhood friend that keeps him safe, emotionally and psychologically, through all his trials. Later in adulthood, this seed blooms into a spiritual awakening, thereby redeeming our protagonist and placing his struggles into a refreshing perspective.
E. David Moulton relates the rise, fall and rebirth of our hero in a succinct, matter-of-fact style, merging the boundaries between fiction, biography and parable. Prodigal Child is an easy read, a delightful reminder of life's uncanny way of matching every sorrow and misfortune with an equal or greater joy.
on March 22, 2004
Today I met the author at a booksigning, having read his book several weeks ago and sharing it with equally enthusiastic neighbors. David Moulton even sang some of his songs for us after answering many questions. The memoir-type story grabbed my attention when he first wrote about black/white American soldiers in WW II. The beginning takes place in London and environs before he moves to the US. An abusive father, unfortunate jail sentences, sprinkled with music, rock bands and painting, provide a rainbow of heartfelt experiences. From singing in St. Paul's Cathedral to metal art work in California, the story is expansive and appealing to any age. Listening to the author answer questions thoughtfully and express his British wording so very clearly make me look forward to our discussion group next week on The Prodigal Child.
on April 22, 2004
This book is an entertaining, but serious, look at the life of an artist who lived through the post-WWII era and experienced the revolutions of the 1960s in England. He lives at the whims of fate. In his musical world, relationships are the key to success. In addition to opening the doors to the world of art and music, the book comments on the unfairness of society and the forces that come to bear when men entrust their rights and freedoms to governments. Abuse of power is a fateful force in the life of the main character. Prodigal Child was a new genre for me and I think a unique experience. It was highly original and well written. Though the character was supposedly fictional, the experiences seem to be drawn from real life. The story was so real that it had an autobiographical feel. If so, the author has had an extremely interesting life.
on September 15, 2003
Set in England on the rough, crime-ridden streets of the East End of London during and after the 1950's, Prodigal Child by E. David Moulton is the story of a talented young singer and songwriter, growing up in the post-war world. A absorbing tale of incorporating and amalgamating American jazz, rock-n-roll, and the blues into one's heart and soul, of opportunities pursued and lost; and quirks of fate and treasured memories. Prodigal Child clearly documents David Moulton as a skilled and engaging novelist.
on September 10, 2003
I enjoyed going through life with a boy and accompanying him on his journey through manhood. I am not a "spiritual" person, and yet I found the spiritual guidance to be the most appealing part of the book. The boy learns lessons early in the book which come to fruition in his life in Chapters 27 and 28. The book reads like an autobiography, which is why it all seems so believable and workable in real life. Thanks, Mr. Moulton, for a great read!
on January 4, 2013
Really enjoyed this book. It held my attention and I was able to feel as though I was there with the characters