Jeffrey Miller's Reviews > Raindrop Races

Raindrop Races by Martin McMorrow
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it was amazing

Early in Raindrop Races,, author Martin McMorrow sets the stage for the amazing literary and historical journey we are going to take when he writes, "before there was the bigger world that was associated with going off to kindergarten and grade school, there was just the neighborhood." It's this kind of universal appeal which touches an emotional, nostalgic chord in us all.

McMorrow takes us on a journey through his life with the 1960s and early 1970s as the historical and cultural backdrop. The first part reminded me of Stand by Me, (the movie version of the Stephen King novella "The Body") Bill Bryson's The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid or this author's Invaders From Mars and Other Tales of Youthful Angst; the second part reminded me of a cross between Four Friends and Forrest Gump--great company to be in. I especially enjoyed the author's take on what was happening during the sixties without pontificating or offering a tired commentary on the decade. What does come across is an endearing, nostalgic, and sometimes bittersweet look back in time.

This book works on any number of levels, but what I found to be the most refreshing and appealing about the book is that most of it is set in the heartland of the US, which in many ways symbolizes or encapsulates American values, mores, and traditions. After all, if it can play in Peoria (where some of the book is set) it can play anywhere. I have to confess that I am a little biased, having grown up fifty-five miles to the north and recognizing many of the landmarks described. In fact, the author's journey also comes full circle for me toward the end of the book, when he describes going to Southern Illinois University and hanging out at PK's(this biker bar on the Carbondale strip); I also went to Southern Illinois University and hung out PK's--going there with the school's veteran's club which I belonged. (McMorrow was a Vietnam veteran).

The book is also a journey, not just a journey back in time, but a journey of discovery for the narrator and PJ, the same kind of journey that Kerouac and his friends took a decade before. It is this quintessential search for identity that is another appealing part of the book as well as the friends who are part of the journey. "I've also begun to understand how two boys could grow up `on the same glass,' take wildly different paths, and remain intertwined for life" writes McMorrow writes in the book's Prologue. It's the kind of sentiment that we have all felt at one time or another when we look back on our lives and the people who have defined us. It's the kind of sentiment which makes this book soar.
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Reading Progress

June 4, 2012 – Started Reading
June 4, 2012 – Shelved
June 5, 2012 –
2.0%
June 5, 2012 –
6.0%
June 6, 2012 –
8.0%
June 6, 2012 –
11.0%
June 9, 2012 –
60.0%
June 10, 2012 –
100.0%
June 10, 2012 – Finished Reading

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