...courtesy of Barbara McIntyre, Special Correspondence to The Akron Beacon Journal. Enjoy:)
"South of Charm" Family Splinters
..."South of Charm," the debut novel by Holmes County native Elliot Grace, is an affecting drama about a marital breakdown and its effects on children. Set in the early 1980's in the small Holmes County village of Charm, it is especially convincing in its portrayal of its main character, the narrator for most of the book.
Danny Kaufman is a 9-year old boy who lives in a small apartment in Charm with his parents, Wayne and Sheryl, and his 4-year old sister Katie. They're not well off, but content enough, and things start looking up when Danny becomes friends with the boy who was last year's class bully.
The trouble begins when Sheryl believes she has found evidence of Wayne's infidelity and makes an angry accusation. Wayne retaliates with violence, and the couple begins an ongoing battle that terrifies the children.
Sheryl, a devout churchgoer, becomes convinced that she is being advised by a spiritual guide and that she is being spied on by her neighbors. Wayne is away often because of his job as a long-distance truck driver, and as the marriage continues to degrade, Danny finds refuge in sports while he tries to protect his sister.
Many will relate to the book's themes of faith and loyalty, and Danny's frustration that no matter how good he is at baseball, it won't help him save his family.
"South of Charm" (404 pages, softcover) Wooster Book Company
Thanks for reading...EL