Roy, a 10 year old boy, relives the day of his big brother Billy’s death. For those of us who have known a promising teenager who tragically lost his/her life in an accident, this story will touch your heart and perhaps your soul. As a 60-year old man, I particularly identified with the story as it is set in a rural farming community in the early 60’s. Many of Roy’s experiences of living on a farm, going to a small school and dealing with the challenges of a 10-year old were so much like my own.
John Young has taken great care creating the setting and characters that are so real that they become real to me. The detailed description of the farm house, the school, and the events as viewed by a 10 year old boy are spot on. Reading the story brought back so many experiences that I had as a child.
I recommend A FINE YOUNG MAN to readers who like a great human interest story. Viewing life through Roy’s eyes is a powerful reminder of my own view of the world at that age. One can’t help but be reminded of childhood friends, teachers, homework, spelling tests, temptations, guilt, fear and disappointment. Life isn’t fair! Through the sadness, hope does shine with knowing that life will never be the same but life will go on.
Personally, this story was difficult to read as it deals with a family’s tragic loss. Starting with finding out about Billy’s death, Roy takes us back to the beginning of that day. I experienced all that made his relationship with his brother special. Having the opportunity to glimpse into Billy’s state of mind and the pressures place upon him, reminded me of how often one of my own mistakes could have prematurely ended my life. In many ways, I find myself thankful that I was given the opportunity to experience so much more of what life has to offer.
This may not be a book that one would seek out due to the subject matter, but it is a book that will touch your heart and help to heal past grief. Like exercise, you may groan until you warm up and then be pleased for giving your heart a gift.
John Northcutt Young
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