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Contrary Creek: a novel Paperback – May 15, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Wheatmark (May 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604943831
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604943832
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,029,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Monika J. Bond on September 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
Tom and Mary Walker's book "Contrary Creek" is the story of teenage Danny Cloud growing up on a ranch in rural Arizona. Having lived the ranch life in the 1980s myself, this brought back memories of cattle and corrals and close family ties. After losing his virginity to a local vamp, Danny realizes the love of his life is someone closer to home. It's a story of teen love and lust, with a bizarre and unexpected twist at the end.
The sensory (and sensual) descriptions are superbly executed by the authors, but after the middle of the book, the story takes a weird turn which is confusing. The story transforms into a cross between Dark Shadows and a murder mystery, with occult and criminal elements that detract from the original coming of age theme. High school students being on a first name basis with their teachers in the 1950s, and parents allowing their 16 year old son to have his girlfriend sleep over, did not seem very believable to me. I also felt that, despite the smorgasbord of possibilities, most of the characters were flat, and lacked development. The author could have developed background on Wanda Tucker, for instance, and made her more than just a sex object (she would have made a better heroine in my opinion...), and could have revealed her motivations and the dark secrets of her past. Mellie is also a very one-dimensional character, with her only focus being on a torrid sexual relationship; and likewise, Danny's attraction to her seems one-dimensional as well. The ending was a disappointment, not only because of the circumstances of the shooting, but because Danny showed no signs of growth or evolution--he's the same young buck he was in the beginning of the book.
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Format: Paperback
Tom and Mary Walker's book is the next best thing to living on a ranch in Arizona. The richness of the descriptions and the ease of the writing style pull you across the Contrary Creek of the book's title and into another world. It is a world where every curve in the road has a story, and a metropolis called Phoenix is utterly irrelevant to the challenges of getting to school when the creek is on the rise.
The characters in this compelling landscape are fresh, yet familiar. They bristle with emotion and humor as they puzzle through challenges that are funny, sexy and finally, heartbreaking. A teacher who casts spells. A headmaster who bans books. A young girl who grew into a woman just in time.
The twin coming-of-age stories of young Danny Cloud and his sister B.J. are authentic enough to pull the reader back into those painful and confusing times when clueless adults pretended to have all the answers. But these kids are shaped by a world most of us will never know, and their actions show it. The story is not simply about kids growing up. It is also about overcoming barriers that rise -- like the creek -- in response to unseen forces and threaten to carry away what matters most.
You won't forget these people or the robust culture where they did their best to figure out what the hell life is all about.
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Format: Paperback
In a narrative voice that is pitch-perfect, Tom and Mary Walker bring us the story of sixteen-year-old Danny Cloud, a small-town boy with big dreams. Yes, Danny's as angst-ridden and horny as most boys his age, but he faces his trials with pluck and an endearing sense of humor. Despite his fierce loyalty to his family, he has no desire to follow in his father's footsteps and take over the Rafter C, a ranch located in a remote canyon in the mountains of Arizona. His younger sister BJ, a feisty thirteen-year-old and champion barrel racer, vies for the job but has to buck her father's traditional mindset.

The Walkers pack this story with action and intrigue as the school year begins with a motley collection of teachers and a bigoted principal. But at bottom the book is about love. Danny's devoted to his family, but it's his newfound love for his childhood friend Mellie that drives the plot and leads to its inevitable and wrenching climax. The characters stayed with me long after I closed the book. I suspect I won't forget them anytime soon. Bravo, Tom and Mary.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I definitely enjoyed this book. I grew up wishing I had been raised on a farm or ranch, rather than in suburban Chicago. Since moving to Arizona 21 years ago, I have often wondered what it might be like to live on one of the many ranches I pass during my travels. Reading Contrary Creek definitely satisfies that curiosity.
It was fun to get to know some of the people in the nearby town Faraway and see how the Cloud family members fit into that small community. I learned how living in the back country has its joys and challenges and how lives are shaped by them.
I enjoyed seeing how the sometimes complicated events of the story helped Danny and B.J. develop into responsible young adults.
As with any good story, I was disappointed when it came to an end.
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Format: Paperback
Most of us like fiction that sounds like truth, and Contrary Creek is exactly that. Almost immediately I came to know each fascinating character, good or bad, and they seemed so real I found myself believing they must truly have existed.
The authors had many threads of action running at the same time, and as each character resurfaced I felt a warm gladness that I was about to find out more.

The language they used was so appropriate to who they were, whether they were stuffy, moralistic faculty members or excited youngsters enjoying new adventures. There are some unusual personalities playing important roles, one being a self proclaimed witch influencing the tender beliefs of her naive students.

Watching the young people discover the joys and pains of loving was compelling, and I hurt with them or savored their successes.

The apparently simple life of ranching proved to be anything but. It was fraught with difficult negotiating with insensitive but powerful individuals who reveled in inflicting laws seemingly designed to prevent families from making an honest living. Those with authority used it against "the good guys," and the reader felt the frustrations and helplessness that sometimes led to giving up.

Scattered throughout were situations demonstrating the dangers of judgementalness, and vividly clear consequences of the harm that can result.

When I finished I felt incredibly sad it was over. I'd come to know the people so well that I missed them tremendously. Contrary Creek may be fiction, but not in this reader's mind!

Lee Schnebly
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