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Freshwater Boys

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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  98 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Freshwater Boys is a collection of eleven short stories set in and around the Great Lakes of Michigan. The opening narratives feature adolescent or pre-adolescent boys struggling with their conceptions of manhood. They aresizing themselves up against masculine ideals, and filled with doubt and confusion regarding their own paths. The landscapes and lakescapes serve as recu ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 16th 2010 by Delphinium (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Rick
This collection is uneven. Some of the stories are good but others just seem to meander around the same themes, boys becoming and learning to become men. I wanted to like it. I wanted to cheer for a Michigan writer but while there's a lot of promise here--Schuitema communicates these characters very well--the stories themselves just don't connect. I was looking for that moment when I stop reading and have to take a breath, either because the story is so good or the writing itself, but it never h ...more
Mary
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
An interesting collection of short stories set in Western Michigan about boys coming of age and men trying to find their way in life. I thought it was interesting how nature played a much bigger role in these stories than women, who were kept mostly at the periphery. The stories about fathers and their sons were the most powerful to me. My favorite was the first, New Era, Michigan - about how a local hermit's death affects a young boy and whose central character shows up later in another story.
Jenifer
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a book I would typically have read, but I am so glad I did. I was drawn in by the allure of Lake Michigan and stories that would occur in a setting so familiar to me. I also don't read many short stories because I am always left feeling like there should have been more. Not so this time. I highly recommend this to my fellow Michiganders, who will likely find a tale that they also can feel "at home" with.
Matt
Apr 24, 2010 rated it liked it
I remember being pretty excited when I was reading slush for the BWR and a story of Adam's would come over the transom; he and Traci O Connor where two writers who seemed to submit pretty regularly, and whose work I came to hope I'd find in my batch of stories to read. So, I was pretty excited to see that Adam had a book out, and was excited to read it.

I think it's a good book, in a solid and dependable kind of way; I'm less interested in realist fiction that I used to be, and I think maybe Adam
...more
Amy
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love the opportunity to read books by Michigan authors. To that end, Schuitema's book Freshwater Boys delivers. The settings of this collection of short stories are local west Michigan towns, and the characters remind me of the men, women, and children I meet every time I leave my front door. The first story, “New Era,” opens with his characters having breakfast at the Trailside Restaurant in New Era, a place I’ve gone for breakfast many times. As I read “Deer Run,” I found myself thinking abo ...more
Bucket
The best stories in this collection were the ones that focused on something unique - like "Deer Run," "Sand Thieves," and "Debts and Debtors."

Most of the stories are pretty standard - they feature boys coming to terms with growing up and men dealing with divorce/not seeing eye to eye with their wives.

The writing quality is good, not great. There are occasional things that didn't work, like a young boy describing the sky as looking like an infant's skin, and the author pointing out the obvious
...more
Brandon Will
The first story didn't draw me in too much, and I might not have read on if it hadn't been so highly recommended to me. If you feel this, I urge you to carry on - I'm glad I did. By the end, I wished there were more. This collection is full of fantastic stories that follow a number of characters at different points of crisis catharsis all set in and around the lakes bordering Michigan.

My favorite , "Deer Run", charters what happens when a group of deer inexplicably decide to escape from the some
...more
Kristin
Apr 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Adam Schuitema, a Michigan author based in Grand Rapids, has written a series of eleven short stories which comprise “Freshwater Boys,” (HarperCollins, 240 pages). These narratives are centered around the Great Lakes region and focus on adolescent boys and their struggles with growing up. “Sand Thieves,“ a story about three cousins and a beautiful beach was hilarious. Great Uncle Lucien has shown up at the family cottage for a visit, though, no one in the family seems to want him around. Except, ...more
Ian
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. There are so many elements to Schuitema's writing that are enviable - his ability to render children in a completely believable manner, his mastery of the physical world. These pieces weigh heavily in Freshwater Boys. Someone is always going for a run, or swimming in a lake, or punching a heavy bag while drunk. Uncertainty about growing up, being a man, living in a world where bad things happen with a Stephen Crane like inevitability, influences every single story in ...more
MattA
Jun 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, michigan
A respectable collection of short stories, all based in western Michigan, all with some kind of boyhood/manhood theme. The appeal of the stories was somewhat hit-and-miss. The stories about boyhood I found more compelling than the stories about older men. Perhaps I have greater sympathy for the struggles youth due to my remove from it. In particular, I thought the first two stories in the collection -- "New Era, Michigan" and "Sand Thieves" -- to be the best of the lot. In general, though, the b ...more
Cindy
I loved this collection of stories because it was written by a Michigan author and set on the west side of the state near where I grew up. What bothers me about short stories is that I never have enough time to really become engaged with the characters and am almost always disappointed in the endings. It's like they leave me hanging or I'm supposed to figure out for myself what has just happened. I'd rather have it spelled out for me. I'm dumb like that. Anyhoo, I enjoyed the writing and the lan ...more
Julie
May 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had trouble getting through this one. I'm not a huge fan of short stories, but as far as they go, these are very well written. However, the complete lack of ANY female characters other than background made this less interesting to me than it otherwise might have been to me. I have heard that the author has a daughter and is considering writing a Freshwater Girls collection which I would certainly give a try.
Paula
Jan 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Schuitema has true knowledge, adeptly written, of the motivations, inspirations and instincts of men. His stories of adolescent boys are particularly insightful and revealing. Every woman should read these stories to get a better understanding of her sons, brothers, husbands and significant others of the male species. He also captures the essence of rural and small town life in the Upper Midwest.
Patrick Beatty
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book at a local independent bookstore during a "buy local" event. Sadly, the bookstore is now out of business. I bought this book because it was by a local (West Michigan) author. I wasn't really excited to read it, but once I started I really, really enjoyed the short stories. Any time you add some places I am familiar with in a story I really relate to it, especially if some are Grand Rapids. I would recommend this book, if even to support a local author.
Suzanne
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Schuitema has totally nailed the Western Michigan experience - everything from running down sand dunes to the Dutch surnames to the white birches, deer, and MC Sporting Goods. A thread of violence runs through these finely wrought tales about boys and men, but Schuitema also delivers hope of redemption.
KayLee
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
*** Signed by author! I met him today when he did a book singing at the book store I work at! :D ***
(4.5) AMAZING! Beautiful, heartbreaking stories. The first story really didn't pull me in, but the rest were awesome! I love "Restraint:A Confession", "Camouflage Fall", and "Freshwater Boys." I also really enjoyed "Curbside" and "The Feel Of Meridians"!
Noah
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories was an especially fun read because the setting is right here in West Michigan, so so many of the places featured were familiar to me. Many of the stories were quite poignant and well-told as well. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I might not have as much if I weren't from around here.
Jackie
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great summertime read. I really enjoyed this book. I grew up in the 70's, in rural Michigan so the time/place setting was very enjoyable to me. Brought back memories of my childhood summers. The endless days of sunshine, baseball and riding my bike all over town. Perfect book to read while enjoying
Anne Marie
Jun 29, 2015 rated it liked it
The short story "Freshwater Boys" for which this collection is named is by far the best. The others are solid, straightforward Midwestern stories (with really good last sentences--this guy has a knack for endings. Maybe he writes that first and works backward) but that last story is compelling and hits me in my great lakes dutch heart in a way I've never read in fiction.
Brian Russell
Jun 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was hard at first to get into this book, but once I got the momentum I couldn't put it down. There are several short stories that really get you involved with the characters and helps you take a new perspective on your own life.
Mark
Jun 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to GoodReads, HarperCollins and Adam for this GiveAway edition.

Wonderfully written tales capturing both the physicality and personality of a beautiful part of the country. Highly recommended.
Keeley
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was a boring disappointment. I could not get into it- I felt bogged down with pointless description and lack of character development.
Gary Street
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend gave me this book. Having grown up in W. Michigan, and actually knowing where New Era is, I was hooked. Regardless, the stories are well written and feel "authentic".
Becky
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this 'book set in my own state' which happens to be Michigan. Several short stories set nearby Pentwater. Five stars
Joyce
Apr 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Enjoyable. It's fun to read a good story written about a place right down the street.
Emily
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting but some of the stories kind of left me hanging
Marnie
Jun 23, 2011 marked it as to-read-fiction  ·  review of another edition
2011 Michigan Notable Book
Heather Sobek
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of these stories were truly haunting.
Amy
Jun 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some excellent writing by a Michigan author about Michigan boys. Eleven short stories.
Amanda Feyen
Jun 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: michigan
fun stories from around michigan, its nice to be able to support a michigan author as well as know the places or instances described in most of the short stories
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Adam Schuitema is the author of the short-story collections 'The Things We Do That Make No Sense' (2017) and 'Freshwater Boys' (2010) and the novel 'Haymaker' (2015). His works have twice been named Michigan Notable Books by the Library of Michigan.

Adam's stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including Glimmer Train, North American Review, Indiana Review, TriQuarterly, and The Southern Revi
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