South of Main Street by Robert Gately
Reading this book I decided to go in blind so that I wasn't influenced by what I expected to happen. At first I had a few problems, mainly with the 'show don't tell' aspect that really embraces the reader without holding their hand too much. All I knew about the book was a brief bio of the author, which was sent to me with the book. I did have high hopes for this after reading the bio, because the author seemed very lively and had a history with actually publishing professional books. Thankfully, my hopes were in the right place. I ended up very much enjoying the book and the writing style was much easier to flow with the deeper I got into it.
Let me tell you a bit about it:
The book follows the point of view of multiple residence of a small town, divided by a street and separated by social standings. Opinions about how the other half lives has continued to cause tensions between both sides, until one man unknowingly crosses the line.
Henry is a middle aged man with some strange tendencies. After returning from the war he developed PTSD and has since retreated into his mind, becoming more like a child than a 50 something year old adult. This has caused strain on his family who are all fighting about how to take care of him after the sudden death of his wife.
Robin and Sharon, his two grown daughters, have been fighting over the best way to deal with their father. Sharon, the youngest, shows her selfish side as she takes her father to court in order to get control over his money, claiming that he is not responsible to handle it on his own. Robin, the oldest, is fighting in favour of her father. She believes that he can be responsible enough to manage his own money and that her sister should not be allowed to get her hands on it. But hidden in their relationship is a family secret that has been kept from the town for their entire lives, and this court case risks it being exposed.
From the other side of the town comes Dixie, a drug addict on the mend. Despite her repeated efforts to get clean she is unable to escape her abusive ex-boyfriend who keeps forcing her to take drugs, and then threatening her for the money to pay for them. From this she meets Henry, who is always looking to help. But helping her will only cause him more trouble.
Follow Henry as he tries to get through life and the people he meets along the way. Everyone he meets, be it child or old homeless ladies, he will change forever. If this book can teach us anything, it is that the way we look at life can influence the outcome in more ways than one.
I truly enjoyed this book. Henry had such a sad and lovable character. What seems like something so small becomes so much greater when seen from his point of view. His love of his daughters and the way he goes about life makes one question how debilitating a mental illness really is. You can come away from the book feeling like you learned something special.
I would recommend you take a look at this book, even if it isn't your type. The writing style was fluent and smooth and one can find themselves getting wrapped up in the story, despite its simplicity. The author did a great job and clearly had a deep love for the characters he created.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Have a great day everyone and happy reading!
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