My Book World
So many men of America (of the world) have experienced abusive relationships with their fathers—in one fashion or another. This novel artfully explores one that may be representative. Bull Meecham, WWII veteran, is a crack jet fighter pilot in the 1960s South, often posted far away from home for months on end (and where is home? when the family must move once every year or two). Ben, his son, hates his father: hates him for treating his children like soldiers, hates him for striking him, hates him for verbal abuse. The wife serves as intermediary between the children and Bull, but she can only do so much; all four children suffer in some way. One wonders how the tension, which is high, can grow as you turn the pages, but build it does.
Ben, a fine high school basketball player, is challenged during a game one night, to quit taking abuse from an opposing player. If Ben doesn’t do as he is told by his father (loudly from the grandstand), Ben will suffer—regardless of the coach’s wishes. Seems Ben suffers anyway. When Ben decks the opposing player, breaking his nose and injuring him mightily, Ben is ejected from the game, perhaps never to play again. Pleases his father but neither his coach nor his community. No spoiler here: suffice it to say something tragic happens to the family, and Conroy most beautifully portrays how a son can both hate and love his father and suffer both emotions simultaneously. A tour de force.
TUES: A Writer's Wit | Dorothy Parker
WEDS: A Writer's Wit | Merrie Spaeth
THURS: A Writer's Wit | Stephen Fry
FRI: My Book World | Ani Kayode Somtochukwu,
And Then He Sang a Lullaby