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Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie's Story Kindle Edition

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Length: 330 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Matchbook Price: $0.99 What's this?
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Editorial Reviews


...Owens captures his characters' folksy Appalachian diction without overdoing it. He also renders a child's viewpoint with great psychological sensitivity: "I didn't like the way [Victor] was all the time trying to be on my mind. It was too close together somehow--like when Momma started talking about Jesus and wouldn't shut up."
A psychologically astute... and satisfying novel.
* Starred Kirkus Review *

Every once in awhile, you read a book in which every element fits together so perfectly that you just sit back in awe at the skill of the storyteller. Then Like the Blind Man is one of these books. 
* The San Francisco Book Review *

In an American coming-of-age novel, the author presents a stunning story with clarity and historical accuracy, rich in illuminating the Appalachian culture of the time period. ...[It] brings history alive, depicting American union labor practices and the racial prejudices that were so prevalent in the 1950's.
* Publisher's Weekly *

The weight of the world was never meant for the young. With much of faith and learning, "Then Like the Blind Man" is a strong addition to general fiction collections with a focus on coming of age tales.
*John Taylor / The Midwest Book Review*

Orbie's sharecropping grandparents, by defying convention with unnerving grace, become founts of colloquial wisdom whose appeal is impossible to resist, and the Orbie they nurture -- the best version of a boy who may otherwise have been lost -- is someone the reader comes to love.
* Michelle Schingler / ForeWord Book Review *

The magical undercurrent that runs through the story adds to its feeling of other-worldliness, and the symbolism is both omnipresent and beautifully handled...
* Catherine Langrehr / The Indie Reader *

From the Author

Chicken Shock

Two memories served as starting points for a short story I wrote that eventually became this novel. One was of my Kentucky grandmother as she emerged from a shed with a white chicken held upside down in one of her strong bony hands. I, a boy of nine and a 'city slicker' from Detroit, looked on in wonderment and horror as she summarily wrung the poor creature's neck. It ran about the yard frantically, yes incredibly, as if trying to locate something it had misplaced as if the known world could be set right again, recreated, if only that one thing was found. And then of course it died. The second memory was of lantern light reflected off stones that lay on either side of a path to a storm cellar me and my grandparents were headed for one stormy night beneath a tornado's approaching din. There was wonderment there too, along with a vast and looming sense of impending doom.

Enjoy The Read!

Freddie Owens

Product Details

  • File Size: 2878 KB
  • Print Length: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Blind Sight Publications (November 26, 2013)
  • Publication Date: November 26, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A42VK4O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,602 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Dead Chicken Memories...

I grew up around Detroit, but would sometimes spend a week or two - once I spent six weeks - in Kentucky, my birth state, staying with cousins or with my grandparents. It was an entirely different world for me, providing some of the best and worst times of my growing up years. I had a great time on a dairy farm there with several of my cousins, milking cows, hoeing tobacco, running over the hills and up and down a creek that surrounded the big farm. I remember too, periods of abject boredom, sitting around my grandparent's old farm house with nothing to do but wander about the red clay yard or kill flies on my grandmother's screened-in back porch.

Certain aspects of these growing up years did come to light in the novel, Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie's Story, knowingly at times, and at times spontaneously and distantly, as ghostly north-south structures, as composite personae, as moles and stains and tears and glistening rain and dark bottles of beer, rooms of cigarette smoke, hay lofts and pigs.

As conveyed above, I spent several of my growing-up summers in what to me was this Kentucky wilderness. While my big city prejudices and toxic beliefs about 'hillbillies' were quashed there, my prejudices against 'colored people' were largely supported.

With each trip I became more and more confounded by a white culture that could be very loving of its own kind but not of those belonging to the black culture. It wasn't until college and the advent of the Civil Rights Movement that I began to untangle this confusion. Then Like the Blind Man fictionalizes and captures aspects of this journey.

Freddie Owens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Shoshana Cooper on December 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
hey..this is a really good read. Its not so easy now to find a good story and a good writer together. Often the "good" writers try so hard to be good they get in the way of the story. It is like they are not writing for the reader but for some literary prize. In this book the author is just darn good. I don't think its so easy to be a grown man and stay true to a young boy's voice and keep it really interesting at the same time. I love Orbie....i care about him a lot and i felt like i really got to be part of his life...and i found it really hard to let him go. So i read it again. I do not usually bother to write these reviews but this book really got my emotions reved up. Highly recommend giving it a read.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Douglas R. Cobb on December 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Debut author, Freddie Owens, swings for the fences and hits a home run with his excellent coming-of-age story set primarily in Kentucky, Then Like the Blind Man. When Orbie's father dies, his life changes forever. His mother, Ruby, finds herself attracted to the smooth-talking, poetic atheist Victor Denalsky, who had been Orbie's father's foreman at a steel mill in Detroit. After Orbie's father dies, Victor courts Orbie's mother, and eventually marries her. Not wanting to nor desiring to take care of a nine-year-old boy with an attitude, like Orbie, who can't stand his stepfather, anyway, Ruby and Victor decide to drop Orbie off at Ruby's parents' house in Kentucky, with the promise that they'll come back to get him once they've settled in Florida, where Victor supposedly has a job lined up. Orbie's mother and Victor take with them Orbie's younger sister, Missy.

The novel is told in the first person by Orbie, who, though young, is very insightful for his age. As I read, I was often reminded of another famous novel told from the POV of a child, Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird. The themes are different, but Orbie's and Scout's perspectives on African Americans in the 1950¡äs are significant to understanding both books. Orbie has some bad experiences with some of the black people he comes in contact with early on in the novel, so he calls them the "n" word at various points in the story.

Through the course of Then Like the Blind Man, Orbie eventually realizes that his grandparents are great people who love him. They may not have attained a high level of school education, but they are wise about farm life and human nature.

They don't like it that their daughter, Ruby, has developed a prejudice for blacks, nor that she's passed it on to Orbie.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Joie Goodkin on January 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I never read a book like this, and I read a lot! It was quite engaging.....the characters are varied and real; and some of them are just one of a kind that you will not likely encounter again!
Very unusual read; and I found the voice of the nine year old protagonist to be especially poignant. The story weaves a finely written tale that engrosses you; angers you, and makes you want to cheer for Orbie as he quietly navigates through the experiences of his encounters in a very small Kentucky town in the 1950's. Would recommend to anyone; and once you are gripped by it, you will want to finish it to know just what happens, like I did! The ending is superbly written; and you won't forget it........
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By LondaLocs on July 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
Orbie has suffered a lot in his short 9 years of life. His father died in a tragic accident and he has a too-soon stepdaddy, Victor, that barely tolerates him. So at the first chance, he is given the boot in Kentucky to stay with his grandparents. His Momma promises that they will come back for him as soon as they get things settled in Florida, but of course, it takes longer than she had planned.

The story takes place in the late 50's, so racial prejudices are front and center in this coming of age tale. Orbie arrives in Kentucky with a bunch of hatred in his heart. Hatred for his stepdaddy, hatred for God, and hatred for black people. (The N* word is used frequently due to the subject matter, so readers should be aware) He uses his 'sailor's mouth' to fend off anyone that might truly care for him. His Granpaw has a mouth to match his and a wicked sense of humor. Both he and Granny have beliefs that Orbie just doesn't care for, such as race equality and attending church. Slowly but surely, Orbie realizes how little he really 'knows' about life. His grandparents and a new friend helps to open his eyes and heart to new experiences.

What I like most about this book is that the Orbie doesn't all of a sudden mature and turn into an angel. His character develops at a very realistic pace, and does things at true to life speed. One of my pet peeves is when a character in a book has a sudden change of heart just because it would fit the plot better.

There is good deal of magical realism in this book. I really enjoyed that element of the story. It softens the edges on many of the serious subjects (child abuse, death, racism, domestic violence) dealt with in this novel. Also, loved the way the author brought all of the people in this novel to life.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Loretta Lam on May 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This unpretentious first book is an emotional story, well told. The pacing is great. There's a nice ebb and flow building to one heck of a climax. You believe (for the most part) that it is from a child's POV. And the elements of magic and small town beliefs rings true.
The only negative for me, was that the author occasionally slipped into contemporary language or thought and so I lost the sense of space and time.
All in all, a very enjoyable book.
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