Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Run with the Horsemen (copy)

I picked the perfect book to start this summer’s Southern Reading Challenge! Ferrol Sams first book titled, Run with the Horsemen, is set in rural Georgia during the Depression and is loosely based on his own upbringing.

Sams began this book as a journal and it is our hope to inspire others to tell their story through journaling on June 9, at our “Tell-A-Tale” brown-bag lunch led by Senatobia High School instructor, Jill Thomas Knox.

We all have great stories and we live in an appreciative community that still enjoys the oral tradition. Why not take the time to write these stories for future generations to read. In Sams case, the stories were so intimate it worked better to recreate himself as a character and present his final book as a novel.

It is really a trilogy, but I am choosing to read the first and move on to a different author. As a librarian, I need to get a little taste here and there of different authors. When I retire, I will be able to fill in the gaps of my own making. This book leads itself to being read alone and was Georgia’s 2006 “One Book, One Community” program selection.

As mentioned earlier, it is the masked story of Sams own experiences told through the boy. Throughout the book, family names are left out and only nouns remain of the characters. There is the boy, his father and mother, a snuff dipping grandmother, and a grandfather. Some uncles and aunts have names to distinguish their relations to the boy, and all other people mentioned have names and cleverly developed character sketches.

Through reading we learn the boy’s name is Porter Osbourne, Jr. and he is extremely smart. At a young age he masters the art of lying taking cues from his many successful and unsuccessful attempts. Never done in malice, his lying is more a survival tactic since he is small for his age and matures later after high school. The boy will not be bullied.

With each chapter, the boy becomes older and wiser. Sams gives his readers the knowledge of worldly situations such as a father who drinks without the boy having the same privileges. The silly thoughts about sex are slowly crushed with each passing year as we follow the boy’s vast learning curve.

Run with the Horsemen was written in 1982 when Sams was 60-years-old. It is a classic. Do you have a life story that could become a Mississippi classic? Join us June 9, and find out.

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