Sandy Wolters's Reviews > The Evolution of a Slingshot

The Evolution of a Slingshot by John Dean Williamsen
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Oct 03, 2012

it was amazing

Book: The Evolution of a Slingshot
Author: John Dean Williamsen
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: Approximate 272 pages

Beautifully written emotional read.

THE EVOLUTION OF A SLINGSHOT by JOHN DEAN WILLIAMSEN is a coming of age novel of Jake Tierney. This work of historical fiction takes us back to the summer of 1946. We meet the 11-year-old Jake with his friends Lexie and Chips as they are hanging out on the flat roof of the shed just being boys. In those first moments of the book, we get a feel for the different personalities of these three boys. Through Mr. Williamsen's writing, we also get a feel for this time and place in history.

I got so caught up in reading Mr. Williamsen's novel, THE EVOLUTION OF A SLINGSHOT, that I forgot I was reading. It was as though I were sitting in a chair watching a movie in my head and becoming more and more emotionally involved with the character of Jake, pushing and cheering him on as well as uttering words of encouragement when needed. Throughout this book the reader becomes privy to the relationships that Jake has with friends and family, with love and great loss. We learn early on that Jake's father was murdered and how that devastating event affects the family dynamic. Times are hard for this poverty-stricken family, but are made even more difficult with the mother turning to alcohol and unpleasant men for comfort in the loss. Ray, Jake's older brother, is forced to grow up and become the man of the house much too soon. The relationship between Ray and Jake is a complicated one. While the love between them is evident, there are times that Ray is so consumed with finding out who murdered their father that Jake feels at times abandoned by his brother.

If, as a reader, you enjoy character driven novels, you have got to pick this book up. Reading this novel brought back memories of my father telling me stories from his youth. The characters were that real to me. The character of Jake touched my heart so deeply that when I had to put the book down because it was too late to read any longer, I dreamed of him and what life had in store for him.

This book speaks to living in poverty and overcoming that, unspeakable horrors perpetrated on people and the bravery it takes to help them, the love and loss between a boy and his family and friends, coming to a crossroad in a young boy's life and having to make a very adult decision at that one moment in time that will follow him through his life forever. But most of all, surviving all of these obstacles with beauty and grace. This was a beautifully written novel, and I highly recommend it.
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