On the first page of this book, Jerome O Brown had left a small handwritten note. It was just one word – “ENJOY” with his initials underneath. Now, I’ve received a couple of books from authors and some of them have written really nice notes for me. Still, it was this one word that captured my attention. Simple, devoid of any punctuation marks or emoticons. Yet, I could read a smile at the end of the note. Inexplicably, this one word made me feel truly happy that I was holding this book in my hands.
If I could describe Calves In The Mud Room in a sentence, I would say it is just like that handwritten note. Simple, short and yet greatly expressive. Calves In The Mud Room is a novella about an evening in the life of Wade Summers. One of the most popular girls in school has asked him to a dance on Valentine’s Day and all he wants to do is take her out and impress her. But he is having a really tough day as his mother refuses to lend him her car and his stepdad tells him never to bother him at work. Both of them are alcoholics and rather detached from the children. Wade has no choice but to take his late grandfather’s truck, which is in pretty bad shape. To add to all his miseries, a lot of cows on his farm start calving. He has seen his grandfather deliver calves before, but this is the first time he has to do it on his own. He arrives at the Schoonover residence, only to learn his date for the night has already left for the dance. Moreover, her snooty and pretentious parents seem completely contemptuous of him, his truck, and his manure covered shoes. He goes to the dance and later, he confronts his true feelings and comes to terms with the situation at home.
More than anything else, Calves In The Mud Room is a display of Jerome O Brown’s tremendous descriptive prowess. As you read the book, you feel every emotion that Wade is going through. Essentially the story of events that take place on a single night, told so simplistically, yet so beautifully and vividly. Wade Summers is easy to relate to as a confused teenager, finding his way in life. We have all been lost and have had nowhere to turn for guidance. We have all overcome those problems. Wade Summers is that part of us.
This novella was rather short and it ended with some questions. I wonder what happens to Wade after the events in this book. I truly wish to read more from Jerome O Brown.
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Note: This book was sent to me by the author for review.