Laura (The Shabby Rabbit)'s Reviews > The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
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's review
Sep 05, 11

bookshelves: seeking, southern-lit, true-favorites
Recommended to Laura (The Shabby Rabbit) by: Galley
Recommended for: Southern lit, The Help, To Kill A Mockingbird
Read from August 10 to September 03, 2011, read count: 1

With names like Willadee, Swan, Calla, Blade, Toy and more how could you not just HAVE to see what was up with these people! And once you decide to go in and meet them, these folks will make you feel so very welcome you won’t want to do anything but stay.

Occasionally characters have carried me away so much that I can not wait to get back to a book, To Kill A Mockingbird was like that for me, so was The Help and in the same strong tradition comes The Homecoming of Samuel Lake. And boy oh boy can Jenny Wingfield bring it. Her writing is an effortless example of subtlety in word but a plethora of emotion.

This family, this extended family of Willadee and Sam, ill-fated John and the strong Calla, and the kids…especially the kids, are put through trial and tribulation, change and adaptation. Shells are broken and forged. True nature is shown and hidden. And not a word is wasted in description or on event. As to the events, and avoiding spoilers, I am impressed and grateful for the delicate handling and restraint from the typical sensationalism usually surrounding such events of recent popular fiction.

One of this books true strengths is its timelessness. Taking place in the 1950’s I never got the feeling it couldn’t have taken place anytime. Taking place in an impoverished white area I never got the feeling it couldn’t have happened to any family of any race. Taking place in the south I never got the feeling it couldn’t have been anywhere. Simply put this book transcends those confines of era, class, and geography to tell a family story about characters so true to life with actions and emotions it would be feasible to meet any one of them just walking down the street.

If I were to downplay anything about this book, which I have a hard time doing, it would be its title. While Samuel is a strong character and his homecoming is of essence to all that occurs, it is the relationships between the kids, and especially the kids and their Uncle Toy that pulls the heartstrings.

I left The Homecoming of Samuel Lake feeling so sad that I wouldn’t get to spend more time at Moses and Never Closes with the Lakes and all their friends, but I felt 100% that the book was complete when I read the last sentence and because of that completeness, I left totally (if nostalgically) happy.
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Reading Progress

21.0% "Falling right into this story like into a comfy couch"
20.0% "great characters!!"
29.0% "I recently finished Gilead and while not exactly 'like' it, certainly reminiscent...except Bernice is a lot more fun"
08/21/2011 page 166
47.0% "All I want to do it read this book...silly life gets in the way...stuff to do like work and such nonsense."
08/22/2011 page 211
60.0% "I'm supposed to be doing homework. But this isn't a book that lets you leave it alone"
08/27/2011 page 235
67.0% "sneaking a few pages every time I get a chance :)"
08/28/2011 page 246
70.0% "people are funny things and Jenny Wingfield is doing an amazing job of making them as odd as the are real!"
09/01/2011 page 258
73.0% "still stealing a few pages here and there.. so hard to stop when I have to though!"
09/02/2011 page 265
75.0% "a page or so at a time but i sure do enjoy this story!"
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