JOEL EVERETT HARDING
Green Peach Publishing
Rating: 3 Cups
Mr. Harding relates the shocking boyhood he has spent traveling across the country, first with his parents. Both borderline grifters, his father does jail time when Joel is about three years old. His life and that of his siblings takes many odd turns from womb to gloom, as Joel’s long documentary shows.
As a boy, he encounters strange landscapes, such as oil fields filled with “green horses”, while curious people and dubious caretakers dangle lessons in life for his taking. All is told from his limited child's perspective, since Vagabond Boy is a true story of resilience and restoration.
A growing sense of unease works its way through the nostalgia. Betrayal and disappointment smolder. An emotional chasm of discontent and distrust threaten to swallow and imprison him until his own curiosity pulls him from his doldrums.
Somewhere, buried in hyperbole, the author makes a case against his parents. This reviewer understands why he should be mad as hell. But telling his story for at least half of the book from his adult viewpoint does not work. Only when he becomes a teen, with the voice of a more purposeful adult, does it become more Angela’s Ashes and less of a documentary on the psychiatrist’s couch. He has a habit of aborting climaxes and resolutions, while emotions are reported in cold symbolism. Only as an adult, does he finally make his case for the defense.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More