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Bedrock Faith

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  270 ratings  ·  61 reviews
After fourteen years in prison, Gerald “Stew Pot” Reeves, age thirty-one, returns home to live with his mom in Parkland, a black middle-class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. A frightening delinquent before being sent away (his infamies included butchering a neighbor’s cat, torching another neighbor’s garage, and terrorizing the locals with a scary pit bull named Hitl ...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Akashic Books (first published February 10th 2014)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  270 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Monica **can't read fast enough**
Bedrock Faith was the group read for February's #ReadSoulLit Readalong. I had never heard of Eric Charles May before, but I am very glad that I picked this one up. Although there are many individual stories to follow, May made it easy to keep up with all of the different characters that are introduced in this very insular community. The Parkland neighborhood felt very recognizable and familiar. Parkland is a sometimes overly close knit community of African American families and individuals that ...more
Brown Girl Reading
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of Contemporary African-American Novels
This rating should be closer to 4,5 stars. Check out the live discussion I did with Musical Tati and Michael Reads on Google Hangout. ...more
Stacy Saunders
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Chitchat. Chinwag. Dish the dirt. Call it what you will, it all boils down to one thing: Gossip. We all do it. Who can resist hearing a juicy tale about friends, enemies or better yet, frienemies? Gossip is an ineradicable part of life and in Eric Charles May’s first novel, Bedrock Faith, it is the way of life among the inhabitants of Parkland, a staid African-American neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. Gossip is an insidious, palpable presence in this surprising, evocative and very fun ...more
Feb 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Review forthcoming in Bookforum. Well worth your time.
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have read to my wife at bedtime for over a decade, and we chose this book the instant it arrived in the mail because Eric Charles May was my MFA thesis advisor, because we had heard and come to love Stew Pot stories heard over the years, and because Eric is wonderful storyteller. Obviously we're a little biased in his favor.

The book, however, exceeded all expectation. May describes Parkland so well, I feel I could find my way around without a map. The characters are so well rounded and believa
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a feel good book that made you want to live in the neighborhood and become as nosey and curious as all the neighbors around you. Something was always going on and man it either pissed you off in a ooohhh my gosh do something about this nut way or laughing and excited to see what was next. Then when it gets a little too serious your feelings come in and make you more than a gossiping bitty. It was good and i enjoyed it immensely.
Behnam Riahi
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The following review has been copied from

Bedrock Faith, written by Eric Charles May and published by Akashic Books, is a third-person novel written primarily from the point-of-view of Mrs. Motley, an elderly black woman living in a predominantly African-American, middle-class neighborhood of Chicago. More than ten years prior, Mrs. Motley’s neighborhood, Parkland, was terrorized by a young miscreant named Gerald “Stew Pot” Reeves, until he was arrested for allegedly
Lisa (LiteraryLatinax)
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I picked this up for the #ReadSoullit group read for February. I had never heard of the book, neither the author but I'm glad it was chosen.

Bedrock Faith is a story about a neighborhood, the people and its daily issues/gossip. It showcases the in and outs of daily living. With it comes gossip, drama, revenge and relationship both good and bad. Everyone knows everything about everyone and everything, not a secret untold which made this a fun read. Stew Pot returns from prison to the old neighbor
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was so much more than I expected.
Dee's Reading Zone
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is Eric Charles May debut book, but WOW WEE, WOW WEE, WOW WEE, what and excellent first read by May!!!!1 I Would love to see this book turned into a play or even movie if it followed the book to the letter. The characters were so engaging, raw yet very memorable. From Gerald "Stew Pot" Reeves to Brother Crown.

YES, I RECOMMEND IT but how I wish I could give it five extra stars.

So if you have ever read the works of Tina McElroy Ansa and J. California Cooper, then you will love Eric Charles
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
review coming shortly
Ssramsey Ramsey
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stew Pot is back on the block in his hometown of Parkland, a middle-class suburb on the South Side of Chicago known as Parkland. He was sent away to prison for fourteen years, but after an early release he is back in town wreaking havoc on his neighbors. When he left as a seventeen year old boy, he was an evil and vindictive set on tormenting his neighbors. Now he returns as a thirty-one year old bible toting, scripture quoting follower of Brother Crown, a religious leader he discovered in priso ...more
Erin Cataldi
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was a little skeptical of picking this book up. It didn't look like anything I had ever read before and in some degree I was right. It was completely new to me... and I LOVED it!! I fell soo hard for this book. Author, Eric Charles May, describes the south side Chicago hamlet of Parkland so well and in so much detail, that I felt I could have driven there and hung out with the neighbors. Parkland seemed more real to me than my own home town. Hell the neighbors too! Parkland's residents were so ...more
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: midwest
This is a straightforward narrative, shifting perspective (though always in third person) among several residents of a middle-class African American neighborhood on Chicago's far south side. (It's much like one of those novels whose story is largely driven by introducing readers to a quirky case of characters in some small town.) A former resident returns to the neighborhood after a long term in prison. He now wreaks havoc in the neighborhood not by criminal activity but by imposing harsh--and v ...more
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The day Stew Pot was released from prison Parkland was changed forever. Stew Pot grew up in Parkland and terrorized his neighbors persistently. He spent 12 years in prison after being convicted of breaking and entering. While in prison, Stew Pot found The Light and returned home to help his neighbors also find The Light. Even though he was met with extreme opposition, Stew Pot was convinced that he would convert people or out them for their "sins." Told from the perspective of the neighbors, Bed ...more
Jessica Bernard
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
While very descriptive and formal with character references I can't see how this couldn't become an entertaining movie! Stew Pot is the neighborhood menace with a crazed passion and Mrs. Motley seems to be the only one in the neighborhood who, despite much opposition, treats him rather fairly. Follow the Chicago neighbors through a series of entertaining events in which crime arises, true feelings are unwillingly shared, and secrets arise. You'll always, no matter at what point in the novel you ...more
Sally Harvey
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stew Pot captures you from the start. You find yourself not wanting to put the novel down as you meet the characters. I couldn't wait to see what Stew Pot was up to next. I do have to wonder if the neighbors caused some of the problems. Mrs. Montely is truely a Saint. I only rated the book a 4 because I found some areas of the book a little to descriptive. I did receive this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Mar 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Won through LibraryThing Early Review Giveaway. An interesting story about life in a neighborhood and the effects a recently released prisoner has on his neighbors who only remember the terror he caused. Though he claims to have found God, they want nothing to do with him or his radical way of witnessing.
Craig Barner
About two years ago, I met Eric Charles May in Chicago's Book Cellar. I recognized him because I had seen his photo in a review of Bedrock Faith. Another author was giving a presentation that night, but after it was done, I approached May to ask for writing advice and to tell him that I planned to read his book. I know that I will run into May again. And when I do, I'll tell him how much I loved Bedrock Faith.

What a terrific book and a real find. Bedrock Faith is a big-hearted story with a genia
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, fiction
When notorious neighborhood troublemaker Gerald "Stew Pot" Reeves returns to his mother's house after a stint in prison, the tight-knit Parkland neighborhood in Chicago buzzes with anticipation and worry. Even though he found religion on the inside, his old habits of stirring up trouble haven't been abandoned--instead, they're now tinged with a righteous fervor. Eric Charles May's tale of a year in this community hums with activity, with living, breathing people whom you might meet on the train ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! So different from what I usually read, though it still classifies as Urban Fiction. The small African American community called Parkland was charming and I could imagine each character. This should be made into a movie by Tyler Perry or TD Jakes! Surprised by the murders, though! I didn't see that coming at all. Was so into the love triangle and hoped Mrs. Mosley would pick a certain very helpful gentleman in the end. Definitely recommend it.
Susan Santangelo
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neighbors and faith...

Strong characters and authentic voices made this an interesting, read about the everyday lives of mostly God-fearing middle class Black people living in a Chicago neighborhood. We get to know all the folks in Parkland, and we can identify with most of them- except for Stew Pot, who may be a murderer... How this man interacts with and affects his neighbors is the crux of this story.

Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I really loved the characters and the setting of this book. However, I found the plot twists, especially towards the end of the book, to often be very random and unbelievable. That is why only three stars.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

The storytelling, sense of place and character development here are excellent. I felt a bit let down with the last ten percent or so, just enough to keep it from 5 stars. I am so glad I joined the read-along for this book!
Good read but seemed to drag in the middle. Enjoyed the twists at the end.
Andrea Grannum
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Setting was Calumet Park IL I lived in that community..
Book had Too Many Characters!!
Emily Witkowski
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ate up this book. Incredibly disappointing ending that I found... unrealistic, or at least incredibly unlikely.
Sweet Mama
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best line~
Never argue with a fool, 'cause a fool don't know the difference."
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Some of the best characters I have ever had the experience of reading
Mathis Bailey
Mar 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
I had to DNF this one. Just wasn't up my alley. Way too much gossip and hearsay. It felt like I was watching an old episode of 227 and AMEN. The story seems character driven. I found the beginning slow and meandering. I feel this novel takes time to build up. Comical writing though. Just not in mood for it I guess. I might return to it in the future.
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ERIC CHARLES MAY is an associate professor in the Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago. A Chicago native and former reporter for the Washington Post, his fiction has appeared in the magazines Fish Stories, F, and Criminal Class. In addition to his Post reporting, his nonfiction has appeared in Sport Literate, the Chicago Tribune, and the personal essay anthology Briefly Knocked Unconscious ...more

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