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The Song of the Mockingbird by Bill Cronin
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The Song of the Mockingbird

by Bill Cronin

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A story of a writer who has lost his "juice" seemed to me at first to be a book that I'd have to struggle through to finish. Wow! Was I pleasantly disappointed! Right from the beginning Cronin began hitting on personal issues that the protagonist had throughout his childhood, issues with which I found I could personally identify. Sure, the fictional character, Jack McNamara, was a highly successful author of 25 novels, a level at which I can only dream. And no, I didn't have a surprise older sister show up in my life when I was 14, nor did I have a father who stomped on my dreams every time I turned around. I'm not even a big Hemingway fan. Still, I couldn't help but feel akin to Jack and the turmoil he was facing 34 years after the emotional firebombs of his youth. From chapter to chapter I just kept reading, finishing in a couple of days what normally would take me a week.

In public, I am not an emotional person and even in the presence of my wife I usually keep my manner pretty level, however, in the privacy of my reading device it is not unusual to find myself producing a tear or two if the story is really good. There were times with 'The Song of the Mockingbird' when I was gushing; not easy to accomplish with this old guy. There were also times when I was angry; angry at Jack's father for being such a bastard to him and Jack's mother, especially at the end of the book when I found out what a true selfish bastard he was; angry at Jody's mother–Jody was Jack's first love– who murdered her family before taking her own life, angry at the general selfishness and ignorance that causes so much heartache and turmoil in good people's lives.

I don't care who you are, a writer, a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a husband, a wife, or someone who aspires to be the best of any of those, this is a book worth reading. 'The Song of the Mockingbird' was truly a powerful story. ( )
  JamesPaddock | Dec 4, 2016 |
An easy read because of the author's style of writing and yet the book has depth as it explores the hurt and anger between family members usually perpetuated by secrets. ( )
  GeneHunter | Mar 13, 2016 |
49 of 75 for 2015. Isn't there a famous saying about all unhappy families? Boy does this book reek of unhappy families, but why has Jack McNamara hit a brick wall and been unable to write even a sentence. At the lowest point in his descent into the depression his father foretold, Jack is saved from himself by an unwitting Highway Patrolman. Lots of local Florida color bring light to what could be a very depressing story as Jack swings back and forth between the present and one summer in his early teens--the summer he met his half-sister, met a young girl, fell in love for the first time, and then lost it all. Now looking back he blames his long-dead mother for all of his misery, and his shrink suggests he get to the bottom of that anger. His father, however, refuses to help him, telling him to stop being a wimp and, in essence, man up. After all, way back when father told him he would end up this way if he insisted on being a writer. There's a lot of misery to get through in this book, but thanks to Cronin's excellence as a writer, the reader doesn't get lost in the despair of the characters. I found this book very hard to put down, and actually finished it in one reading. Now I want more of Jack McNamara's story. ( )
  mtbearded1 | Jun 7, 2015 |
A story from an author about a mother who has writing block and a son who has writing block. Too much detail bored me so much I couldn't finish the first chapter. ( )
  MSgtMackel | Jun 6, 2015 |
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