Wednesday, August 15, 2018


A story that you must read:

If you ever wonder why an author spends the time to craft a story and develop characters, these reader’s reviews will tell you why. 
We don’t write for the money (however, please buy my books), we write to tell stories. To take our readers to places they’ve never been, or to times when they wished they might of lived, or for just a few hours, become someone else. 

Based on the following reviews, I am thrilled that I accomplished this.

These are posted as shown on Amazon, punctuation and spelling are the reviewer’s.

The Cherry Pickers takes place in 1956. It is a time forgotten, a place forgotten, a childhood remembered.

Reviewed By Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite
Set against the backdrop of the summer of 1956 on a farm in Michigan, with reminiscences of WWII and the threat of nuclear war, The Cherry Pickers by Gregory C. Randall is a coming of age story that follows the life of Howie, a teenage boy with a deformity on his arm, a deformity he uses to scare his friends. He isn’t loved by his aunt, who is an alcoholic and who unloads her invective on him, but his grandmother treats him with compassion and tenderness. While life in the orchard is seasonal and neat, with the last row of trees standing on the old lake bluff above and the forest below, young Howie Smith sees beyond its limits a world of infinite possibilities; he sees it in the primeval Michigan woods spread below the limits of the orchard, and that becomes his world and fief. Against the backdrop of this setting, the author creates the story of a family, exploring the dynamics of relationships, their fears, and a young boy’s unique adventure with life. 

The characters feel real, like people we walk with every day in life. They are real when they cuss, they are real when they moan in pain, and they are real in the simple gestures and conversations that punctuate their daily life. Apart from Howie, the protagonist, I enjoyed Uncle Frank, a character who epitomizes Gregory C. Randall’s gift for humor. Randall has a wonderful gift for narrative and the prose is evocative and lyrical, filled with wonderful images. A whole delight in itself and a world for the reader to explore. 

The style is unique and I enjoyed the references to the war, and as per Charlie, one of the characters, there is so much to worry about, should another war break out: “The world’s tired of war. That war they say is coming is too horrific to think about. … It would be a war with no refugees, Hiroshima showed the world that.” How does one as young as Howie, living on a farm, handle the thoughts of impending war? Is the woods a form of escape for him or a mere place of adventure? The Cherry Pickers is a gorgeous story that unveils the thoughts and fears, the hopes and threads that bind together a rural people.

Additional Reviews on the book’s Amazon Site

M. Schoenholtz

August 9, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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.

Only 4 stars, because there were a few disconnects in the writing; also some changes in tense in the same sentence, omission of a pronoun or article, and missing or poor punctuation, which if corrected would’ve made a line a little less confusing. It wasn’t easy to determine if some of these were the author’s hand, or, and more likely, the transcriber converting this to digital format. These issues don’t appear with any real patter, so did not distract my attention nor detract my immersion in the story, but did force me to pause to make a note.

August 9, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is such a great story of family, understanding, and love. Very well developed characters. I would love a follow up story maybe 10 years after just to find out what happens to the characters that I’ve grown to love. Thank you Mr. Randall for sharing this with me. I will look for other works you have written and I highly recommend to all who want to discover depth in a novel.

July 30, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For young and old alike who enjoy getting lost in a well written story that could be your family or you wish it were.

I really enjoyed this book probably because I grew up in a small farming town in Iowa and would help my Grandpa on his turkey farm in the summer during the 1950's. Well written with excellent descriptions of characters , with which I could sometimes identify as people in my own town.

July 5, 2018
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book probably because I grew up in a small farming town in Iowa and would help my Grandpa on his turkey farm in the summer during the 1950's. Well written with excellent descriptions of characters , with which I could sometimes identify as people in my own town.

June 23, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition
5-stars for Gregory C. Randall's The Cherry Picker

Having grown up in Michigan in the 50s and 60s this book at incredible significance to me. Even if you haven't had the wonderful experience of growing up in the Midwest, I suggest you give this wonderful coming of age story a try.

The vast array of characters are well developed, diverse, have challenges and surprises of their own. They come together to weave a wonderful summers tale of life on a cherry farm. The boys' experiences are timeless and have as much in common with today as they did in the 1950s. The threat of nuclear war has not gone away, fascination with tobacco products remains strong and young boys experience the same physical changes to their bodies as they grow into manhood.

Women have a lot to relate to too in this story. Mother, grandmother, wife and an adolescent girl all interact and influence the young boys' lives.

I highly recommend The Cherry Picker to readers who like a coming of age story that combines nostalgia mixed with coming to terms with what it is to be a man.

July 30, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition
Anyone looking for explosive drama in this coming-of-age story will be disappointed, but a reminder: a story doesn't have to be a thriller to be incredibly good.

Randall introduces characters with care and skill, like pencil sketches gradually filled out and painted, shaded and brought to life on the page. The Smith and Rex families are riveting not as much for what they do, as for the subtle responses and motivations that make them who they are.

I found myself wanting to get back to the story when called away from it just to spend some more time with them. That's probably the highest compliment I could pay the author, to whom I'm grateful for sharing them with me.

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