Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. It seems I still haven’t finish my longer read so I took the opportunity of reading a shorter read in between finishing my current read. I chose to read Bette Stevens’ short story, Pure Trash.
This book is the prequel to Bette’s – Dog Bone Soup, where we get a glimpse of growing up poor in the mid 50s.
It’s PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/short story), a Compelling Prequel to the novel DOG BONE SOUP. The year is 1955. Remember the Good Old Days? You know, the 1950s and ‘60s, when America was flying high. The All American Family lived a life filled with hopes and dreams and life’s necessities too. Shawn Daniels isn’t your typical American Boomer Boy. No, Shawn is a poor boy. He can’t join Boy Scouts or sports teams. There’s not even enough money for necessities. Besides, Shawn doesn’t have time for that. But when chores are done, there’s always fishing!
In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It is going to be a great day. Shawn is sure of it. No school and no bullies to remind him that he’s not one of the crowd. This is a story about bullies and what it’s like to be bullied (and not just by kids). It may redefine your definition of bullying. If you were a child who was thought of as “different” in some way, you know what bullying is about: torment, persecution, intimidation, to name a few of its synonyms. For Shawn and Willie, their difference was based upon the social status of a dysfunctional family and the alcoholism and abject poverty in which they grew up.
My 4 Star Review:
Stevens takes us back into the 1950s, depicting the Daniels family – a poor and dysfunctional family. This very short story introduces us into the life of two brothers, Shawn and Willie, indicating a snippet of what their lives entail living in not the most idyllic of situations.
We get descriptive bits of background sprinkled through this story, indicating the poverty these boys live in and small insights into their parents’ lives. The father is an alcoholic and doesn’t leave an impression that family needs come first when we learn he has bought himself a television, while the home sounds like it could use some financial investment to bring it up to modern day living. I don’t think I had enough to read to get emotionally invested in the story, but I did feel for the boys who seemed so far, not to complain about their meager lives and looked forward to weekends where they could get away from chores and out bike riding and fishing.
In this particular story, the boys are riding when little Willie get’s into a biking accident and is hurt. Big brother Shawn runs to a close by home to seek help for his injured brother as he remembered a woman from his church lived nearby. Despite the woman showing some compassion and helping out Willie with his wounds, she didn’t hesitate to show her prejudice for poverty by letting us know with words she felt these children and their family were beneath her.
I haven’t read the full book version yet of Dog Bone Soup, so I really didn’t grasp the whole essence of the story, merely a short glimpse into the theme of the story – family dysfunction, poverty and prejudice, based on description of the boys’ home, their passions and the reaction of one towns woman when confronted with having to help the boys out. Based on the theme of the story, I’m sure I’d enjoy learning more about these boys and how they manage to get on with their lives despite their upbringing and the stigma of poverty that surrounds them.