The richest part of the book is the detailed examination of Sheltonâs relationship with his father, Red, the alcoholic bootlegger and house painter. Red dragged his family from state to state, house to house, each home filled with the threat of violence and menace, each painted lovingly by him as a contrast. Sheltonâs fears of and devotion to his father are told unflinchingly throughout the book, up to and including his role as his fatherâs caretaker at the end. To call the relationship conflicted doesnât begin to convey its impact. In the last days of Redâs life, Shelton takes his grandmother on a drive for milkshakes and she tells him, âHe wasnât always the way you remember him as a child. When he was younger, he was different. I donât know how to describe it. He was a good man who made a lot of bad decisionsâ (279). The book is a difficult love letter Shelton writes as he searches the generations of his family for his own place in it. It time travels effortlessly from past to present with an abundance of talesâreal, tragic, and comic. W. T. Pfefferle College of Coastal Georgia Shelley Armitage, Walking the
Western American Literature – The Western Literature Association
Published: Aug 16, 2017
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