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Pure Trash: The Story

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The year is 1955. If you grew up in the 1950s and the 1960s, you may be among those who recall those good old "Happy Days" of television fame. Even younger generations enjoy watching TV reruns to get a peek into what life was like back then. In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It is going ...more
Paperback, 28 pages
Published August 10th 2013 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Bette Stevens
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Two great reviews from author friends!

PURE TRASH, The Story by Bette A. Stevens

This short story is filled with images and flavor only better provided by an ice cream cone.

If you remember Orange Crush in bottles, bike rides away from home, slingshots as fine entertainment and Good 'N Plenties as a way of filling your stomach on a hot summer day, you might be able to relate to Pure Trash.

If you've ever been offended, judged, spoken to in a way that gave you serious room for doubt about the world
Christoph Fischer
“Pure Trash: The Story” by Bette A. Stevens is short story about bullying, introducing a 9 year old poor boy and his life in the 1950s. Looked down upon by society for his apparent lack of funds and modest background this short book allows us a glimpse into the joys and the bad life experiences of his. Under this premise the narrative is episodic and feels like a teaser for the upcoming full length novel about Shawn Daniels, his family and his life. I personally found the ending the most ...more
Bill Ward
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a short story about two young brothers in the fifties and is a well written and evocative example of how those of us of a certain age used to spend our days outdoors on bicycles, not staring at screens! It would probably all be a bit foreign for the majority of today's kids!
I think the author has teased us by writing this short story as it suggests she could write a great novel about their adventures, which I would like to read!
Lucy Nix
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good read for young adults to learn about life in the 1950's or adults reliving a time gone by. Leaves one wanting to read more about the adventures of Shawn and his brother and their family life. Interesting look at past history of rural America and of a time gone by. Keep up the good writing, enjoy reading your books.
A.E. Curzon
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pure Trash is a short story focused on a day in the lives of two young boys, Shawn and Willie Daniels. They are extremely poor, have a drunken father, a long-suffering mother and live in a shack in 1950's America; located near a small New England town in which bullying and prejudice is rife. They attend church every Sunday. This day (Saturday, and no school), having done their chores, is filled with gathering discarded empty bottles on their way into town, and collecting the returns money. The ...more
Joe Cortez
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most of us will be judged by our actions. The people we meet will have a clean impression of us when we start a relationship, and their opinion of us will be formed and confirmed little by little by the things we do or by the things we dont do. They will notice if we honour our word whether or not we do the right thing.
Shawn Daniels does not have that luxury.

He has been judged, perhaps even before he was born.

You see, he is one of Eddy Daniels’s kids. And it just so happens that Eddy is the
John W. Howell
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having read Dog Bone Soup from which this short story was drawn, I figured it would be a review of what I already read. I must say it was, but to a greater degree, this short story caused me to focus on the message. Two boys, Shawn and Willie, were children of dirt-poor parents. The story covers the day that the boys are going to take their bikes to town, trade in some bottles, and enjoy some candy. In short, a day free of worry and care. Unfortunately, this was not meant to be. A small ...more
Boyko Ovcharov
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Pure Conscience!

Very well thought out, written and targeted at people with a conscience.
Through the daily lives of two young boys, the main characters, this short story raises crucial questions about our attitudes towards others, family culture and social environment. Despite being set in the 60s, it appeals to YA and adult readers nowadays, as it deals with universal human nature questions.
The messages conveyed here are so powerful, concerning our self-worth, no matter if we are well-off or
Janice Spina
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a sensitive and moving story of how those who have more treat those who have less unfairly. There is a segregation amongst the social classes. Two young boys go out to play on a warm summer day just to have some fun together. They experience prejudice due to their poverty and social status of their parents.

Bette writes in a caring and articulate way to get her story across to young adults. This reader was moved to tears by Bette's simple but eloquent tale and her ability to weave an
D.L. Finn
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Pure Trash” is a charming and insightful glance into rural 1955 as we are taken through a day with two boys: Shawn and Willie. They are poor and judged on the merit of their drunken father. Heading into town it is apparent they are considered, “pure trash”. They’re able to earn enough change to get some treats and play freely on the playground. An unforeseen accident confirms what Shawn already knows, they aren’t treated the same as everyone else. I can’t wait to read “Dog Bone Soup” to see ...more
Maureen Twomey
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A charming short story about two boys adventures. :)
(I think the rich woman is trash, not the boys!)
D.G. Kaye
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stevens takes us back into the 1950s, depicting the Daniels family – a poor and dysfunctional family. This very short story introduces us into the life of two brothers, Shawn and Willie, indicating a snippet of what their lives entail living in not the most idyllic of situations.

We get descriptive bits of background sprinkled through this story, indicating the poverty these boys live in and small insights into their parents’ lives. The father is an alcoholic and doesn’t leave an impression that
Rave Reviews Book Club
Since the book, PURE TRASH was a short story, my review will be short as well. Bette Stevens did a good job in writing this short, but a few things kept me from giving it a full 5 star rating:

1) The introduction speaks a lot to the child (Shawn) being bullied, yet there is no mention of it really happening anywhere in the story (the little hints in this respect wouldn’t count). Yes, there are some negative comments and treatment by adults in the story, but I’d use the word "mistreatment" as
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Stilted, redundant and lacks conflict.

This is a very short story about two boys out on a Saturday morning, doing what boys supposedly did in the mid-1950's. It's a very quick read. The premise of the story isn't bad, though not exactly original. The problem is in the execution.

The writing is redundant, so much so a little bit of editing could have knocked at least 20-25% of it off without changing the sense of it one iota. For example, the repeated allusions to what a great day it was grew
Tricia Drammeh
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pure Trash is unlike any story I've read. At first, it reads like a memoir from Reminisce Magazine, but as the story unfolds, I connected with the characters at a deep level. The author explores prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying. It's a story all audiences over the age of ten can enjoy. While reading this story, the reader will experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough.

The heartbreaking innocence of
C.M. Blackwood
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bette Stevens’s “Pure Trash” is a quick and delightful read. It’s the story of a nine-year-old boy named Shawn, whose family is poor, and whose father is an alcoholic. On account of this unfortunate combination, he and his younger brother Willie are scorned throughout the community.

This little story employs excellent mid-twentieth century dialogue, making you feel like you’re a part of the sleepy little town the author has invited you to. It begins with a lighthearted feeling: two young boys
David Caldwell
This is a short story set in the fifties. Two boys from a poor family and a father that drinks too much, spend an day having innocent fun. Along the way, we get glimpses of how the boys are looked down upon because of their economic status and their father's drinking. It isn't just children that tease and belittle them though
Adults do so as well.

It is interesting to see that these two good boys that are respectful, do their chores without complaint, and are willing to work for the little that
Harmony Kent
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review by Harmony Kent

(I received a free copy of this book for review purposes)


This is a very short story (approximately 5,000 words), about a young boy named Shawn and his six year old brother. They are seen as poor white trash by both the children and adults of their town.


An excellently portrayed short story, which really puts you into the main protagonist's head. It hints at regular bullying, and the story as a whole serves as an introduction to a longer
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rrbc
This story brought back memories of my youth growing up in rural New England, when it was safe to let your children ride three miles to town on their bicycles. We had a small country store with an assortment of items such as this one. Many other fond memories as well. They are nicely depicted in this story. I realize it is listed as a "prequel" to a story coming out later this year. However, it seems to be more a chapter than a complete story, as it doesn't really go into any depth about the ...more
Nicholas Rossis
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How can so much imagery fit in such a small space? A host of human emotions and an entire era are crammed within a handful of pages. What's even more impressive, this is all accomplished from the point of view of a a simple boy.

This short story speaks volumes about Stevens' writing skills and her ability to pick the seemingly insignificant details that make all the difference - such as the self-made metal basket on the hero's bike, or the casual measuring of his father's drunkenness level, in
Kenneth Kerr
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Adorable Prequel!

A Prequel or short story about two brothers, Shawn nine and Willie six, growing up dirt poor in the 1950s.

Bette Stevens does a great job of introducing the brothers through the narration of the older brother. Her descriptions are very well developed and their adventure of riding their bikes into town on a Saturday is very well written. It was a great teaser for the full novel to follow.

I strongly recommend this short story to children and adults. The story was very interesting
Brigid Gallagher
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read Bette's book "Dog Bone Soup" prior to "Pure Trash" and loved it. Bette writes beautifully and brings us into the world of Shawn and his family in 1950's New England. This prequel takes us on a journey with Shawn and his brother on their bicycles, collecting bottles on the roadside, exchanging them for cash, and buying pop and sweets. Unfortunately, his brother falls off his bike and the boys seek solace from a lady who reluctantly cleans his wounds, while calling the boys "pure trash."I ...more
Jessica Kong
‘Judging a book by its cover’ is an age old saying that will never go away. Whether it is ingrained in human DNA or a learned behavior, it is sad to be judged by the way you look, dress, your race or heritage. If you have never experienced this, then you are within a minority group and very fortunate. The rest of us can relate to Shawn Daniels, the main character in Pure Trash written by Bette A. Stevens. A person should only be judged by their actions. I feel a person’s actions will give a ...more
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Pure Trash transports you into a world of a young man named Shawn Daniels. As you read the first few pages the reader is met with immediate conflict on several levels. Bette Stevens develops a strong protagonist that pulls on your heart strings and encompasses the reader's emotions.

This is a perfect read if you're short on time or need something different. I recommend it, and I can't wait for the novel to follow. Bette Stevens just made my favorite author's list.
P.S. Winn
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great story, although it ended too soon and abruptly. Because it is a prequel, that is understandable. I think the author does a great job with the feeling of this story and with the relationship between Willie and Shawn Daniels. The family is poor and the story of being judged because of that is told through the boys' eyes. The quick read is well written and a definite tease for readers to grab more works by this author.
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bette Stevens did a wonderful job capturing what it is like for a young impoverished boy living in rural America during the 1950's. Shawn Daniels, an 11 year-old boy is humiliated for the way he lives and where he comes from. Bullying is a topic that did not just happen in the 50's but happens today. I am glad Ms. Stevens chose to write about this topic.
Marilyn Stanley
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this short story about live in rural America - it was very well written and held my interest from start to finish - EXCELLENT!!!!
Yvette Calleiro
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this short story. It took me back to my younger years when my sister and I would just explore the streets and the woods in front of our house until the street lights came on. This story is set before my time, but the nostalgia is easy to claim for myself. The author did a wonderful job of bringing in the innocence of childhood and the harshness of an alcoholic father and his effect on the children's lives. She also masterfully brought in the hypocrisy of some of the neighbors ...more
Teresa Grabs
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Stevens' short story about a few hours spent by nine-year-old Shawn and six-year-old Willie in 1955 evoked great images of riding into town, collecting bottles to turn in, and tolerating the way some adults turn down their noses at others. I love short stories, but I am torn on this one. The formatting of the ebook left something to be desired, but so did the story. Their father is an alcoholic who would rather spend money on beer than his family. I just wanted more. More purpose for the adults ...more
F.B. Veneziano
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The year is 1955. Nine-year-old Shawn Daniels is ready to head out on a Saturday adventure with his younger brother Willie. They're off to search for trash to turn into treasure. It's going to be a great day.”
What a great time it was…but not for everyone. These boys are from a very poor family. Their Dad is a big drinker.
When Willie has an accident on his bike, Shawn turns to one of the nice christian ladies from church. But, like most of the town, she looks down her nose at the boys because
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Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the ...more