This delightfully quixotic coming-of-age story, set in Columbus, Georgia in the 1950s, truly has something to shock and beguile even the most jaded reader. Its irreverent protagonist will take you on a road trip of hits, near misses, twists, and sudden turns that ll set you on your ear. You ll be unable to put the book down, until you reach its charming yet totally unpredictable conclusion.
"I wondered why it took Trussell so long to call me. I knew he liked me. Everybody knew he liked me. He had been kicking up dust around me ever since I've known him. Acting the clown and doing silly things. So guess where he calls me from? A bait shop! While he's talking, an old woman comes up to him and tries to buy some worms. She thinks he works there! But we finally get things sorted out and plan on a stroll down to Johnson Elementary School the next evening.
"Yes, the next evening! He just had to see me as soon as possible, he said. He had doubts about his religion he wanted to talk about. You know, I wish he would have picked another reason. Of course, my mother didn't like the short notice one bit, and when Trussell showed up at our door, she invited him in and grilled him to a medium well.
"Anyway, we escaped to Johnson, just a couple of blocks away. He kept staring at me. I told him not to stare, and I think he was a little embarrassed. We sat down on the ground and talked about lots of things. The time he saved a boy from being lynched with a jump rope by his classmates. The time our class was looking for constellations at night, and he asked me for help. He was sweet, and he remembered so much. I gave him an Indian name, Wrong Star. Then he gave me one, Brown Eyes. Beautiful, beautiful, Brown Eyes. I liked that. I liked that a lot. It was dark by then so he couldn't see me blush.
"Then we walked over to the swings and talked about religion. We were both Baptists so I guess that helped some. He really did have the doubts so I tried to tell him how I felt. We didn't argue or anything. And I was surprised. He really did want to talk about religion.
"And there was something I wanted to talk about. I wanted to know how he coped with losing both his parents so young. My mother was recovering from a cancer operation, and I had been worried about her. I kept imagining how things might be without her. I couldn't help it. Trussell seemed to understand. He said his parents still lived in his heart. He thought about them every day. He was thankful for the time they had together. 'You just keep going,' he said, 'you just keep going.'
"We walked back to my house and sat on the screen porch. I fixed him a ham sandwich which he gobbled like a wolf. We talked a little more and then he left, saying he'd had a great time. He would call tomorrow. He'd better. I wanted to see him again."