Over the last few months I've spent a lot of time pulling together an updated version of the award winning book The Cherry Pickers. This story, which takes place in 1956 in the cherry growing region of Michigan near Traverse City, is both the story of teenager who is suddenly faced with a summer of difficult life lessons, family challenges, and the realization that people are not always what you think they are.
Howie Smith, our protagonist, lives in Chicago but spends his summers on his grandparents cherry farm. It is the farm his father grew up on. Howie and his younger brother Bill, take advantage of the farm, the woods "down below," and Lake Michigan. The reader is transported back to time of innocence, love, hate, illness, a gay uncle, and a family living on the edge.
The 1950s were a time of the Cold War, nuclear safety lessons, migrant workers, and bigotry. Just ten years from the end of World War II, the family must still live through the losses that war brought to the Smith family.
This is their story and it is your story; it is a visit to an America now lost, and it is a story of love and changes -- and love comes in many forms. Walk the streets of the village of Elk River, swim in the crystal clear lake water, feel the sand in your toes and the summer heat on your back. Think of your first cigarette and maybe your first love. It is all here.
I haven’t read such an enjoyable book in a long time. I can’t even recall the last time or what that book even was (maybe as far back as the first Harry Potter releases …)!
With the first paragraph, I was transported to the main character’s perspective. This is a coming-of-age story like no other. In a world where the popular stories are of other genres or sub genres such as dystopian tales, horror/vampire/faux erotica, vapid love stories, and gory mysteries, I sat enthralled to the very end.
As I watched the countdown decrease, I began to not want to finish the book so quickly. There’s always a let-down when one finishes a really good book, and I dreaded it.
Available as an ebook and paperback through Amazon. Just click on the book cover or the one to the right and it will take you to the site.