5.0 out of 5 stars The Cracked Mirror, May 27, 2012
Timothy T. - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cracked Mirror: Reflections of an Appalachian Son (Paperback)
I approached "The Cracked Mirror" by Billy Ray Chitwood with much anticipation because it uniquely presented itself as "A Fictional Memoir." A challenge that could have easily been a literary disaster is instead a literary gem. Mr. Chitwood--the author of Bailey Crane novels and works of nonfiction--bares his life from childhood to old age with the skill of a surgeon and the requisite messiness of ER trauma. He is honest and contrite about youthful transgressions, and is both traumatized and healed. The "Mirror" of the title is an accurate reflection of a lifetime that includes victory and beauty, the "Cracked" an honest ownership of human imperfections. The fictional chapters titled "The Way Station" occur every-other chapter, and serve as introspection to the memoir chapters. These are handled flawlessly via the protagonist PP Hiller and the clinical psychologist character Greta Fogel. Mr. Chitwood does not make the mistake of leaning on psychobabble jargon to play psychologist, but instead captures the rapport of a friend who is also a retired psychologist sharing some insights with a friend, that we, as readers, get to also benefit. The result is a memoir that expertly handles the arch of a lifetime from childhood poverty and abuse to the bittersweet regrets, acceptance, and amends of a man intensely aware that he is in the autumn of his life. Powerful writing from an author that now has me seeking out his other works.
From the Author
"The Cracked Mirror - Reflections Of An Appalachian Son" is a fictional memoir but so much of it is true, likely about ninety percent true. It has been a labor of love and some tears were shed over the laptop during the writing. Looking back on one's life can have that effect.
The book has a fictional character named Prentice Paul Hiller, and you can presume accurately that person would be me. I chose a dual-narrative format for better conveyance of information and to keep the story line interesting and more credible. With the fictional Prentice Paul there are the fictional paternal grandparents. The stories related to the paternal grandparents, uncles and aunts are true. The maternal grandparents are actually presented by their real names and those stories are true.
"What Happens Next? A Life's True Tale" is the non-fictional brother to this book. "What Happens Next?" explores more deeply the concept of 'Love' and 'Faith,' to the extent the mind is capable of doing that. "What Happens Next? A Life's True Tale" is to be published in September, 2012.
Know what? One could call these books 'twin brothers.'