In 1950’s Georgia, Trussell Jones is having a difficult time. His stepmother is constantly on his tail and won’t let him get a license. There’s no way he’s ever going to work up the courage to ask out Ellen, who he’s had a crush on for years, without it. Add to that a crazy biker gang on his tail and two friends who are constantly helping him get into trouble. On top of that we have a sweet but nosy aunt and a difficult music career. Poor Trussell doesn’t stand a chance of finishing out his teenage years with all the troubles he has.
I love these bildungsroman books. Normally, I find them to be a nice coming of age story that leaves you with a sense of someone finding their purpose in life. This book was no different in that aspect, but there was just so much more to it. It was almost like watching A Christmas Story, but reading it in the teen years. Trussell’s imagination just runs away with him and he has the most vivid thoughts bouncing around in his head. I giggled throughout most of the book, although parts of it did sadden me. Most of it is fun and flighty, due to Trussell’s nature, but there are so many dramatic and thrilling facets to the story that you find yourself being pulled in different emotional directions.
Overall, the story is well-written. It’s fast-paced and easy to read. The end of each page keeps you turning to the next and it’s difficult to put down. Characters are easily believable as well as likable. It’s so much fun to meet them and get to know them as well as getting to see the other characters’ perspectives of them. I didn’t find one single misspelling or grammatical error, which is always a plus for me since it slows the story down.
Tillman is an experienced textbook writer, but this is his first foray into fiction. I certainly hope it’s a road he continues down.
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