His is a book Tennessee Williams would be proud to have written A novel that reads like both a play and poetry A story that is both tragic and yet verydayThe writing and flow of this book are superb An Ozark family drama with such clear finely drawn characters that you can reach out and touch them talk to them and due to their high dysfunction likely run from themShugie Morris is 13 His momma calls him Sweet Mister and his Step Daddy calls him so many awful and nasty names usually about his overweight status Shugie has no friends to speak of and his only solace is food and his Ooko emotionally incestuous mother who treats him like a little man than a son He lives with his family in a graveyard and does most of the work as his momma is a terrible alcoholic and his step daddy is a thief and opiate addict This trio of characters is not just toxic but ratherxplosive with a number of climaxes throughout the book I felt so terribly sad and outraged for Shugie The abuse he has to Naked endure and the fact that he is all alone in the world with nobody to truly nurture or care for him He is abandoned over and over He is mocked over and over He is seduced over and overHow can wever Shadow Scale (Seraphina, expect our Sweet Mister tover be a healthy and functioning member of our society uite simply we can t He will most likely Claim The Crown end up in prison and we will demonize him as white trashI want to leave with you some uotes from the bookYou don t know what you d miss Shug An airplane the passenger kind passed overhead a silver dot high in the the sky that sort of sad sound in the sky that sort of sad hum from a thing far away and going farther that makes your chest leak air and feel hollow It might be candy corn or maybe matchbooks from the pancake house that you d have in your head all the time Some silly thing your head decides is important and misses A picture of your dog Your old baseball mitt There s no knowin which silly thing neither Not before it happensandA pickup truck splashed beside us with a sopping old hound dog standing on the bed The dog and me caughtach other s Nerds eyes and the hound looked like he reckoned that at some other time him and me could be friends and yell at suirrels together Even when the truck splashed off a good ways down the road he looked back at meandOnce I sat still gang after gang of little fish stopped by to nibble to pucker and nibble on the vast white bellyskin I offered They lined around my tummy They pecked under my arms They gathered like a pack to pucker and nibble at the fat rolls on my chest I had the right flavor for them The fish were small narrow things some creamy with dark stripey parts others pure yellow and all moved fast The fish made me feel like a special treat like if I did float and laid myself in the current and drifted they d come with come along a pack of fish traveling the shadow beneath me as I floated and floated awaySo manyxamples of such In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, exuisite heartbreaking prose of a little boy who was never allowed to be a loved little boy but rather a substitute husband caregiver to his needy weak mother and an accomplice and punching bag for a brute of a step father The little sensitive poet in him is never fostered appreciated cared forIf I had the courage I would read this book again but my poor heart could not bear it This is one of the bleakest saddest most hopeless stories I havever read It tore at my heart What amazes me the most is how well Daniel Woodrell presents the complicated dynamics between Red Glenda and Shug and how clearly we see that the good heart in Shug is never going to be allowed to Bark exist in this sordid world he occupies I began to mourn him on page oneWoodrellmploys On Such a Full Sea exactly the right sharp staccato unvarnished writing style that his subject demands He puts his words in the mouths of the characters in dialogue that rings true I could hear the syrup in Glenda s voice and the cruelty in Red s I could hear the The Death of Sweet Mister God Bless the Child That s Got His Own The Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell is nominated as a group read for August 2016 for the group On the Southern Literary Trail The polls are open This is just one of thexceptional nominations being considered Interested Drop by Sit a spell If you re inclined walk the Trail with us What would you like to read There s always plenty to choose from along the Southern Trail My thanks to Trail Member Carol of Cary North Carolina for her nomination Come join us Them that s got shal What a book what a book So grim so bleak so dark and so well written In line with Cormac McCarthy this writer Daniel Woodrell is I read Winter s Bone some years ago and loved it too Again a bleak situation of a young lady This book is about Shug an overweight young boy 13 years old with violent father and a drunk mum The relationship with the mum is to say the least a bit weird Kept me reading nonstop within my available time highly intriguing from beginning to the very last page Stunningly poetic this violent read I ll be back for as usual but if you can take dark and violent yet beautiful I know weird combination read this book I may go to five stars need to think I need to read of this writer soon Grand and shocking The bottle where I hid my lifelong screams busted wide The screams flew loose where nobody could hear The road I walked along was sunburt dirt and dust lifted with Hello, Hippo! Goodbye, Bird! each step I walked alone and felt my screams break free I screamed over things that happened I thought I d forgot I screamed past fence rows and cows along the sunburt road I screamed until my throat was whipped raw and the sun settled and se. Ompelling Woodrell's descriptions seem real and alive and linger long after reading The Boston GlobeWoodrell's Ozarks are cut as cleanly as Flannery O'Connor's Georgia and pocked with characters just as volatile and proud and unpredictable Chicago TribuneSet in the Missouri hill country The Death of Sweet Mister presents oneventful summer in the life of Shug a friendless overweight thirteen year old living with his mother Glenda in the caretaker's cottage at the local cemetery.
You wake up in this here world my sweet li l mister you got to wake up tough You go out that front door tough of a mornin and you stay tough til lights out have you learned that Shug Akins learns the hard way between the beatings delivered by his father Red and the pampering of his mother Glenda To the first he is just a lazy fat soft teenager that needs to have some sense punched into him Red goes to regular school but we learn almost nothing about that side of his life His real apprenticeship is in the life of crime as the drunkard bully who may not Cannibal even be his natural parent is forcing Shug his real name is Morris but nobody seems to care to break andnter into poor people s homes and steal the painkillers the older man is addicted to To complete the picture of woe and desolation Shug lives in a grave Dear Casual Readers this is not a book you are going to want to read But if you can muster your resolve get your boots on and stomach it the powerful writing of Daniel Woodrell will knock said boots right off your feetI don t have a background in classics I m a science geek who just happens to love fiction Until recently I didn t know that there was a genre called Southern Gothic or if I d heard the term I d probably think it meant some sort of ghost story set in a decrepit antebellum house like that creepy old short story by Faulkner called A Rose for Emily Did you maybe read that in high school It s great rememberSince getting onto Goodreads however I ve learned that one characteristic of Southern Gothic is the appearance of a grotesue character Mastered (The Enforcers, essentially somebody who is warped in some way mentally It could be a manic depressive a raging alcoholic somebody out of touch with realitylike Blanche in A Streetcar Name Desire Pat Conroy described it like this My mother Southern to the bone once told me All Southern literature can be summed up in these words On the night the hogs ate Willie Mama died when she heard what Daddy did to Sister Daniel Woodrell writes characters who are nearly all grotesues Every one of them They are surrounded by poverty disaster trials and tribulations galore and there is always one who you root for There is always one character you love love love and want to see him or her claw out of the pit cupping them close You want to see them climb toward that one little spoke of sunlight that single piercing arrow of hopeAs the title suggests this book is not going tond well But it may Man, Son of Man end in a way you never see coming If you are the mother of a 13 year old boy as I am this novel is probably going to be harder to get through than it would be for other readers It has the single most horrible and yet perfect booknding Alter Ego everI do not do summaries or book reports in my reviews because as a reader I like to be totally surprised by what lays between the pages So without any spoilers I will tell you only that a boy has parents who do not treat him well His mother loves him andncourages him and wants a wonderful future for him but she drinks She remains with an abusive husband who takes out his anger on her and the boy There is drug use in the book and really really despicable theft But through all this twisted darkness you come to love the sweet natured boy nicknamed Shug short for Sugar There is a shaft of hope beaming straight down at that boy near the book s conclusion and the tension of knowing whether or not it comes to light up his life will keep you clenched up in suspenseWoodrell is a masculine writer but his simple words about ven the non ssential things grab me in the woods beyond the spot where we sat little creatures told jokes on the other little creatures and clicked their nails on tree bark and skittered so the leaves waffled and twisted as they laughed their kind of laughs From somewhere off yonder came a soft mumble of a creek dreaming a good oneTwice we saw snakes drawing spaghetti lines in the dust of the roadTheir voices sounded as bloodshot as their Uncommon Wisdom eyesCarl s bad leg looked like a sausage link that had got shoved to the back of the fridge and forgot about it till it was no goodIn sum if you are a fan of the Southern Gothic genre or when it isspecially violent called grit lit go ahead and read Fans of Cormac McCarthy Larry Brown and Harry Crews will love this as I did But I like the dark Five stars The Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell is the August 2016 choice for post 1980 read by the Southern literary trail group After reading a preview of the book it did not look like a story that would interest me but when group members praised the book I decided to read it for myself Despite Woodrell s Unseen City extraordinary story telling ability The Death of Sweet Mister was not a story that Injoyed reading For that I rate it 3 stars 15 for the bleak story and 45 for the prose I could tell from the opening paragraphs that Woodrell is a gifted writer He paints the imagery of an impoverished Ozark family so that I could really get a feel for the horrid conditions in which they live Thirteen year old Shug Akins is grotesuely obese and lives in a shack in the middle of a cemetery with his Art emotionally unstable mother Glenda and her part time husband Red Because the house is tiny Shugxperiences the adults world sex drugs alcoholism poverty There is little to be happy about and no rosy future for Shug to look forward to There are no other peers in Shug s life only the adults who have shaped his bleak God Is in the Crowd existence Red uses Shug to be hisrrand boy to obtain meth and dope from houses of terminally patients He and his friend Basil take some of the drugs for themselves and sell th. A New York Times Notable BookI can't remember coming across a precise Attracting Songbirds to Your Backyard evocation of innocence lost since Golding's The Lord of the Flies With The Death of Sweet Mister Daniel Woodrell has written his masterpiece spare dark and incandescently beautiful It broke my heart Dennis Lehane best selling author of Mystic RiverPut The Death of Sweet Mister on the shelf alongside Faulkner Jim Thompson and Cormac McCarthy With this one Mr Woodrell hasarned himself a piece of immortality Ge.
E rest so that they have some money to live on Meanwhile Glenda dresses in a provocative manner The Matriarchs (The Family every day and when Red goes away for days at a time she attracts Jimmy Vin Pearce in his green thunderbird Theyngage in an affair and Shug becomes jealous of their relationship Red has an affair of his own and Shug is forced to witness both from close by I would like to say that Shug comes of age in a positive manner and is reformed or that Glenda takes Shug and leave their trashy Ozark hillbilly Notes for the Everlost exist beyond but neither is meant to be Shug remains Glenda s sweet mister despite her showy displays for all men who come across her path This leads to complicated sexual feelings on both their parts and unfortunately does not leadither to better their When I Moan (Vassi and Seri 1: Russian Stepbrother Romance) existence or tie up the story neatly The world of drugs sexual perversion and barelynough money to scrape by is all they will No Biggy! ever know Despite this horrid tale I can tell that Woodrell is a gifted writer as he paints this bleakxistence I would be open to reading of his books if they weren t uite as grotesue as Sweet Mister In the meantime I am left with images of Shug Akins horrendous living conditions and am tremendously thankful that my children live in a better world than that of the Akins family If Flannery O Connor is the Sophocles of Southern lowlife then Daniel Woodrell is the Seneca This deceptively collouial Ozark tale full of artful rhetoric black ironies and blood is treated in such a pitiless Olympian fashion that the result is mythic than tragic Shuggie and his mother Glenda leave their mark on Crush It! each other and they will leave their mark on you the reader too Oedipus Rex ShugDrug and alcohol addiction poverty violence and murder child and wife abuseven incest it s all here Yes the subject matter is horrifying but I absolutely loved this mercilessly brutal and yet somehow still tender and touching novel in which a long suffering victim of an Attracting Birds to Your Backyard extremely dysfunctional family and a toxicnvironment comes of age and seals his own fate While I Deep Listening enjoyed Tomato Red which deals with many of the same themes I think Woodrell s writing is superior in this novel Just two years separate their publication dates but growth in the author s skills is noticeable The character development is stronger and the storyline is compelling There are less groan inducing deadpan Noir type jokes than there are in Tomato Red and it sven darker and depressing yet there are just Bird-by-Bird Gardening enough comediclements to keep you from drowning in all the misery Drunk Granny s scenes all made me grin and one segment where Shuggie aka Sweet Mister the 13 year old narrator joins her and his cousin on her paper route had me laughing aloud I also thought Woodrell s placement of that The Works of Saint Augustine episode was brilliant because it provides the reader with some much needed relief and it also softens himher up for a very brutal blow that follows in the next chapter when Shug returns homeI m a sucker for almost anything with a First Person POV narrator with an outsider perspective and this is a primexample But beyond that Woodrell s writing amazed me I think he has something going in his writing that I can t compare to any other author s something uniuely half ugly and half beautiful hard and tender visceral and poetic I m amazed at how that could be possible but Woodrell proves it is Examples The weather had looped around to where it was good again too good to last long and had prompted blossoms to unclench and wild flowers to pose tall and prissy amongst the weeds plus it brought forth song birds and bumble bees and all the likewise shit of Spring Our house looked like it had been painted with jumbo crayons by a kid with wild hands who Unbuttoning the CEO (The Suits Undone enjoyed bright colors but lost interest fast On the floor flopped a beanbag chair which would act like a horror movie flower trying toat you if you sat in it Her skin looked like a dry leaf fallen to the road and waiting to crinkle into pieces The woods sueezed close at the very My Teacher Is a Robot edge of the yard on three sides and stood there glum like a crowd that had patience and patience but was not so sure they would bentertained The cows laid listening to my screams as if they knew all about them and didn t need to hear An airplane the passenger kind passed overhead a silver dot high in the blue and made that sad sound in the sky that sort of sad hum from a thing far away and going farther that makes your chest leak air and feel hollowWhy did I title my review Oedipus Shug I ll tell you here if you don t mind a spoilerview spoilerIn The Interpretation of Dreams Freud first coined the phrase Oedipus Complex to describe his theory that a young male child goes through a phase where he wishes to destroy his father in order to claim his mother for himself This will likely be floating in Supper Club every reader s mind as they go through this novel Big theme for sure But then there is this moment in the last paragraph where Woodrell made me think he wasn t just building his theme on Freud but from the original source itself Oedipus Rex by Sophocles At thend of that play after Oedipus has killed his father and raped his mother he tears out his own yes Looking at these lines from Woodrell s closing paragraph metaphorically it seems Shug has done done the same There was something off about the sun Not as round as normal but shining hard All that sunshine coming my way and nothing I cared to see I stared into the sun until I couldn t see a thing hide spoiler Holy crapI may need to read some Cormac McCarthy to cheer up after this one 5 heartbreaking desolate and organic stars 7th Favorite Read of 2016 TieT. Orge Pelecanos best selling author of The Way HomeThe Death of Sweet Mister holds its own against anything in the canon of American literature This is a book I'd place alongside Faulkner's The Reivers or Hemingway's 'Big Two Hearted River' Kaye Gibbons best selling author of Ellen FosterThe Death of Sweet Mister is a strong contender for my all time favorite novel crime or otherwise Allan Guthrie Edgar Award nominated author of SlammerFiery poetic hair raising Los Angeles TimesC.
Daniel Woodrell ï 5 Read
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Growing up in Missouri seventy miles downriver from Hannibal Mark Twain was handed to me early on first or second grade and captivated me for years and forever I reckon Robert Louis Stevenson had his seasons with me just before my teens and I love him yet There are too many others to mention I suppose but feel compelled to bring up Hemingway James Agee Flannery O'Connor John McGahern