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Tunnels In The Briar Patch: Short Tales Of Roland McCray Paperback – January 7, 2013
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
About the Author
A lifelong resident of Virginia, Blaine Coleman majored in Religious Studies and minored in Creative Writing-fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was fortunate to have studied under many excellent writing teachers at VCU, too many to name, but the most recent were author Clint McGown, to whom he credits his love of poetic prose, and bestselling author Sherri Reynolds. He now lives in a rural setting where his two dogs, a five-year old beagle named Leah and an always rambunctious beagle pup named Sage, have room to run. He spends his free time gardening, reading and writing.
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She answered, “I read it when I was twelve. But, then I read 'Lord of the Files' then, too.”
So, I looked them both up. "Catcher" is frequently considered young adult but more so a coming of age novel. Never considered it in the same light as "Summer of ‘42."
"Lord of the Flies" draws more conflicted answers. While some consider it simply fiction, others frequently call it allegorical. One contributor labeled it as “post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction.” ("Eraserhead?")
Then my wife said, “Why do you ask?”
Now we’re back to the subject at hand. I suspect that in the last year, I’ve read more young adult books than I did when I was a pre-teen. I often tell friends that if it were not for cameras and mirrors, I’d still be seventeen. Perhaps I should include choice of literature?
Just as dinner arrived, I responded, “I asked, because I’m reading a book to review that is billed as young adult and it makes me think of 'Catcher' -- although it has been thirty years since I read Salinger’s classic.”
Roland McCray is the creation of author Blaine Coleman, who like myself, is a boomer. I wonder if there are other boomers out there who read books about younger protagonists. Coleman writes in the first person with the authentic voice of a young boy. McCray tells a series of ten short stories, but not tall tales, called "Tunnels in the Briar Patch," with which boomers can identify and pre-teens can learn. Who among us did not as a child learn to ride a bike, explore graveyards, vacant lots, and forgotten parts of town? Boomers in their youth had to deal with many of the same social issues then as we still do today. Some topics are classic. Roland learns about life and death, prejudice and love. Human nature rarely changes. Aren’t life’s most important lessons best stated simply?
The young mister McCray relives aspects of every person’s childhood with that profound simplicity upon which complicated issues rest. Why does a pre-teen girl have to wear a wig? Why does even a small town have so many different cemeteries? Why should a pre-teen be concerned with the rapture?
If I continue reading young adult books, my book case in our reading room will have a shelf labeled, “YA for Boomers,” and "Tunnels in the Briar Patch" will have a prominent place there. Tunnels can be found on Amazon now as an e-book and will soon be available as an audio book.
Roland has some adventures along the way, playing in a cemetery and finding relics on a Civil War battlefield but he must also deal with some dilemmas of his own; very real dilemmas for an eight year old boy. The story itself was very well written. I would highly recommend this book.