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In His Blood eD poetry A story that is both tragic and yetverydayThe writing and flow of this book are superb An Ozark family drama with such clear finely drawn characters that you can reach out and touch them talk to them and due to their high dysfunction likely run from themShugie Morris is 13 His momma calls him Sweet Mister and his Step Daddy calls him so many awful and nasty names usually about his overweight status Shugie has no friends to speak of and his only solace is food and his Desert Kings (Deathlands, emotionally incestuous mother who treats him like a little man than a son He lives with his family in a graveyard and does most of the work as his momma is a terrible alcoholic and his step daddy is a thief and opiate addict This trio of characters is not just toxic but ratherxplosive with a number of climaxes throughout the book I felt so terribly sad and outraged for Shugie The abuse he has to An Officer and a Spy endure and the fact that he is all alone in the world with nobody to truly nurture or care for him He is abandoned over and over He is mocked over and over He is seduced over and overHow can wever Exposed (Annika Bengtzon, expect our Sweet Mister tover be a healthy and functioning member of our society uite simply we can t He will most likely Ooko end up in prison and we will demonize him as white trashI want to leave with you some uotes from the bookYou don t know what you d miss Shug An airplane the passenger kind passed overhead a silver dot high in the the sky that sort of sad sound in the sky that sort of sad hum from a thing far away and going farther that makes your chest leak air and feel hollow It might be candy corn or maybe matchbooks from the pancake house that you d have in your head all the time Some silly thing your head decides is important and misses A picture of your dog Your old baseball mitt There s no knowin which silly thing neither Not before it happensandA pickup truck splashed beside us with a sopping old hound dog standing on the bed The dog and me caughtach other s Naked eyes and the hound looked like he reckoned that at some other time him and me could be friends and yell at suirrels together Even when the truck splashed off a good ways down the road he looked back at meandOnce I sat still gang after gang of little fish stopped by to nibble to pucker and nibble on the vast white bellyskin I offered They lined around my tummy They pecked under my arms They gathered like a pack to pucker and nibble at the fat rolls on my chest I had the right flavor for them The fish were small narrow things some creamy with dark stripey parts others pure yellow and all moved fast The fish made me feel like a special treat like if I did float and laid myself in the current and drifted they d come with come along a pack of fish traveling the shadow beneath me as I floated and floated awaySo manyxamples of such Shadow Scale (Seraphina, exuisite heartbreaking prose of a little boy who was never allowed to be a loved little boy but rather a substitute husband caregiver to his needy weak mother and an accomplice and punching bag for a brute of a step father The little sensitive poet in him is never fostered appreciated cared forIf I had the courage I would read this book again but my poor heart could not bear it Holy crapI may need to read some Cormac McCarthy to cheer up after this one Oedipus Rex ShugDrug and alcohol addiction poverty violence and murder child and wife abuseven incest it s all here Yes the subject matter is horrifying but I absolutely loved this mercilessly brutal and yet somehow still tender and touching novel in which a long suffering victim of an Claim The Crown extremely dysfunctional family and a toxicnvironment comes of age and seals his own fate While I njoyed Tomato Red which deals with many of "The Same Themes I Think "same themes I think s writing is superior in this novel Just two years separate their publication dates but growth in the author s skills is noticeable The character development is stronger and the storyline is compelling There are less groan inducing "deadpan noir type jokes than there are in "Noir type jokes than there are in Red and it s ven darker and depressing yet there are just In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, enough comediclements to keep you from drowning in all the misery Drunk Granny s scenes all Made Me Grin And me grin and segment where Shuggie aka Sweet Mister the 13 year old narrator joins her and his cousin on her paper route had me laughing aloud I also thought Woodrell s placement of that Bark episode was brilliant because it provides the reader with some much needed relief and it also softens himher up for a very brutal blow that follows in the next chapter when Shug returns homeI m a sucker for almost anything with a First Person POV narrator with an outsider perspective and this is a primexample But beyond that Woodrell s writing amazed me I think he has something going in his writing that I can t compare to any other author s something uniuely half ugly and half beautiful hard and tender visceral and poetic I m amazed at how that could be possible but Woodrell proves it is Examples The weather had looped around to where it was good again too good to last long and had prompted blossoms to unclench and wild flowers to pose tall and prissy amongst the weeds plus it brought forth song birds and bumble bees and all the likewise shit of Spring Our house looked like it had been painted with jumbo crayons by a kid with wild hands who On Such a Full Sea enjoyed bright colors but lost interest fast On the floor flopped a beanbag chair which would act like a horror movie flower trying toat you if you sat in it Her skin looked like a dry leaf fallen to the road and waiting to crinkle into pieces The woods sueezed close at the very Hello, Hippo! Goodbye, Bird! edge of the yard on three sides and stood there glum like a crowd that had patience and patience but was not so sure they would bentertained The cows laid listening to my screams as if they knew all about them and didn t need to hear An airplane the passenger kind passed overhead a silver dot high in the blue and made that sad sound in the sky that sort of sad hum from a thing far away and going farther that makes your chest leak air and feel hollowWhy did I title my review Oedipus Shug I ll tell you here if you don t mind a spoilerview spoilerIn The Interpretation of Dreams Freud first coined the phrase Oedipus Complex to describe his theory that a young male child goes through a phase where he wishes to destroy his father in order to claim his mother for himself This will likely be floating in Cannibal every reader s mind as they go through this novel Big theme for sure But then there is this moment in the last paragraph where Woodrell made me think he wasn t just building his theme on Freud but from the original source itself Oedipus Rex by Sophocles At thend of that play after Oedipus has killed his father and raped his mother he tears out his own Mastered (The Enforcers, eyes Looking at these lines from Woodrell s closing paragraph metaphorically it seems Shug has done done the same There was something off about the sun Not as round as normal but shining hard All that sunshine coming my way and nothing I cared to see I stared into the sun until I couldn t see a thing hide spoile. Ompelling Woodrell's descriptions seem real and alive and linger long after reading The Boston GlobeWoodrell's Ozarks are cut as cleanly as Flannery O'Connor's Georgia and pocked with characters just as volatile and proud and unpredictable Chicago TribuneSet in the Missouri hill country The Death of Sweet Mister presents oneventful summer in the life of Shug a friendless overweight thirteen year old living with his mother Glenda in the caretaker's cottage at the local cemetery. What a book what a book So grim so bleak so dark and so well written In line with Cormac McCarthy this writer Daniel Woodrell is I read Winter s Bone some years ago and loved it too Again a bleak situation of a young lady This book is about Shug an overweight young boy 13 years old with violent father and a drunk mum The relationship with the mum is to say the least a bit weird Kept me reading nonstop within my available time highly intriguing from beginning to the very last page Stunningly poetic this violent read I ll be back for as usual but if you can take dark and violent yet beautiful I know weird combination read this book I may go to five stars need to think I need to read of this writer soon Grand and shocking The bottle where I hid my lifelong screams busted wide The screams flew loose where nobody could hear The road I walked along was sunburt dirt and dust lifted with Man, Son of Man each step I walked alone and felt my screams break free I screamed over things that happened I thought I d forgot I screamed past fence rows and cows along the sunburt road I screamed until my throat was whipped raw and the sun settled and set The Death of Sweet Mister God Bless the Child That s Got His Own The Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell is nominated as a group read for August 2016 for the group On the Southern Literary Trail The polls are open This is just one of thexceptional nominations being considered Interested Drop by Sit a spell If you re inclined walk the Trail with us What would you like to read There s always plenty to choose from along the Southern Trail My thanks to Trail Member Carol of Cary North Carolina for her nomination Come join us Them that s got shall haveThem that s not shall loseSo the Bible says and it still is newsMama may have Papa may haveBut God bless the child that s got his own that s got his ownYes the strong get smartWhile the weak ones fadeEmpty pockets don t Alter Ego ever make the gradeMama may have Papa may haveBut God bless the child that s got his own that s got his ownBillie Holliday and Arthur Herzog 1939 Daniel Woodrell There s no need stretching this out Daniel Woodrell is a Hellaciously good writer The Death of Sweet Mister is a fine dark read told through theyes of a thirteen year old Morris Atkins better known as Shug and you guessed it Sweet Mister The Death of Sweet Mister First Edition Putnam Adult January 1 2001 Once again Woodrell sets his story in the Missouri Ozarks often called Little Dixie Woodrell paints his setting with the strokes of a master His characters come alive through dialog that cuts sharp and true I m going up the country where the water tastes like wineThe Atkins family consists of Shug mother Glenda and Red There is little doubt a paternity test would determine Red didn t plant the seed that produced Shug Red has nothing but contempt for the boy Red s blatant sexuality with Glenda hurt Shug and in his mind hurts his mother as well This could well be Woodrell s tale of Oedipus in the OzarksRed is an incompetent criminal spending time on parole than free of any kind of supervision He s in the joint on parole or headed back to the joint Perhaps that s why he wonders when he had the time to conceive Shug Fat boy You dumbshit I ll knock fire from your ass digRed Red my God don t talk to our son that way you ll get him twistedOur son my assI wish I could add none of this happened The Atkins secure housing in the caretaker s shack at the town cemetery They live there in xchange for tending the grounds But it s Shug who does the work mowing the wide xpanses with a tractor and a small lawn mower for the tight spaces Red is out with his buddy basil scoring all the dope they can glenda scoring all the dope they can Glenda her days in an alcoholic fog sipping on her tea a mixture of rum and coke The Green Green Grass of HomeRed s not so dumb He realizes that one bust will send him back to the pen for a very long time The solution Recruit Fat Boy He s a Juvie If he s caught nothing will happen to him All he has to do is to get Shug to keep his mouth shut if he is caught And Red s a pro at that DigShug begins his life of juvenile crime He burglarizes the houses Red points out and steals the drugs Red has a convenient business associate Patty a nurse who knows who is dying at home and on heavy medication She s a business associate with fringe benefits Shug confronts the dying in their homes and takes their medication always leaving several doses At times Red uestions the amount Shug brings to them but he s smart Uncommon Wisdom enough to shrug and say that s all there was Well you might see me tonight with an illegal smile John PrineThe inevitable happens Shug is caught by an old man with bone cancer but alertnough to call "The Police Red Is Nervous "police Red is nervous a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs and takes Shug fishing threatening him with his life if he sueals on him and BasilMeanwhile Glenda has met Jimmy Vin Pearce a professional cook down at the Echo Club Glenda is one of those women men turn to stare at She has Jimmy s attention Jimmy s shiny green Thunderbird has Glenda s Don t you think Jimmy would make a good Daddy she asks Shug No I think Daddies stink It s a big bright green pleasure machineRed disappears The shack looks as though Hell broke through it Shug looks through the shack Unseen City expecting to find bodies in the bedroom But all he finds is a skillet with red hair stuck to itThe Death of Sweet Mister is a rush from start to finish Each andvery voice Woodrell creates rings with authenticity Most surprising is how deftly Woodrell handles the first person narrative of Shug His loss of innocence is palpable as the pages turn Daniel Woodrell is a literary gift His are no simple stories with happy Art endings These are harsh portraits of the rough side of life and the uniue people who carry the burdens of the lives they lead some by choice and some by forceHighest recommendation This is one of the bleakest saddest most hopeless stories I havever read It tore at my heart What amazes me the most is how well Daniel Woodrell presents the complicated dynamics between Red Glenda and Shug and how clearly we see that the good heart in Shug is never going to be allowed to God Is in the Crowd exist in this sordid world he occupies I began to mourn him on page oneWoodrellmploys Attracting Songbirds to Your Backyard exactly the right sharp staccato unvarnished writing style that his subject demands He puts his words in the mouths of the characters in dialogue that rings true I could hear the syrup in Glenda s voice and the cruelty in Red s I could hear the sorrow below the surface in ShugThere are many ways to die and two of the worst are suicide and murder Shug Akins is murdered and in response he commits suicide If Flannery O Connor is the Sophocles of Southern lowlife then Daniel Woodrell is the Seneca This deceptively collouial Ozark tale full of artful rhetoric black ironies and blood is treated in such a pitiless Olympian fashion that the result is mythic than tragic Shuggie and his mother Glenda leave their mark onach other and they will leave their mark on you the reader too The Death of Swe. A New York Times Notable BookI can't remember coming across a precise The Matriarchs (The Family evocation of innocence lost since Golding's The Lord of the Flies With The Death of Sweet Mister Daniel Woodrell has written his masterpiece spare dark and incandescently beautiful It broke my heart Dennis Lehane best selling author of Mystic RiverPut The Death of Sweet Mister on the shelf alongside Faulkner Jim Thompson and Cormac McCarthy With this one Mr Woodrell hasarned himself a piece of immortality Ge. Et Mister by Daniel Woodrell is the August 2016 choice for post 1980 read by the Southern literary trail group After reading a preview of the book it did not look like a story that would interest me but when group members praised the book I decided to read it for myself Despite Woodrell s Notes for the Everlost extraordinary story telling ability The Death of Sweet Mister was not a story that Injoyed reading For that I rate it 3 stars 15 for the bleak story and 45 for the prose I could tell from the opening paragraphs that Woodrell Dear Casual Readers this is not a book you are going to want to read But if you can muster your resolve get your boots on and stomach it the powerful writing of Daniel Woodrell will knock said boots right off your feetI don t have a background in classics I m a science geek who just happens to love fiction Until recently I didn t know that there was a genre called Southern Gothic or if I d heard the term I d probably think it meant some sort of ghost story set in a decrepit antebellum house like that creepy old short story by Faulkner called A Rose for Emily Did you maybe read that in high school It s great rememberSince getting onto Goodreads however I ve learned that one characteristic of Southern Gothic is the appearance of a grotesue character When I Moan (Vassi and Seri 1: Russian Stepbrother Romance) essentially somebody who is warped in some way mentally It could be a manic You wake up in this here world my sweet li l mister you got to wake up tough You go out that front door tough of a mornin and you stay tough til lights out have you learned that Shug Akins learns the hard way between the beatings delivered by his father Red and the pampering of his mother Glenda To the first he is just a lazy fat soft teenager that needs to have some sense punched into him Red goes to regular school but we learn almost nothing about that side of his life His real apprenticeship is in the life of crime as the drunkard bully who may notven be his natural parent is forcing Shug his real name is Morris but nobody seems to care to break and No Biggy! enter into poor people s homes and steal the painkillers the older man is addicted to To complete the picture of woe and desolation Shug lives in a graveyard where his job is to mow that bone orchard so that the town wouldn t throw him and his mother out on the streets shug is at an awkward age and his mother is a hindrance than a help with her sultry sexuality she could make Hello there sound so sinful you d run off and wash yourars after hearing it then probably come back to hear it again and her own insecurities She has dreams of Crush It! escaping the conjugal violence and the horizonlessxistence dreams she wants to pass on to her son In Winter s Bone this Attracting Birds to Your Backyard escape was the army in The Maid s version it was trains passing through in the night and heading for sunny places Herescape takes the shape of a green luxury car Somehow the Thunderbird seemed to instantly comb the bumps from the road ahead to keep the ride always gentle It was a fabulous make of car I never had been so high in the world Since I mentioned the other two Ozark novels I ve read by the same author I should also say that these books sometimes feel like they all belong in a larger Deep Listening epic of the place andach are just pieces of a puzzle that will ultimately fit together into a big canvas The names of the families the rivers the small towns are becomingfamiliar There are Bird-by-Bird Gardening even references here to thevents from The Maid s Version and probably other continuing stories that I missed The black angel stood ten feet tall and stood over a mass grave of mostly teenagers who s gone to a dancehall to dance years and years ago when dynamite or gas or who knows what The Works of Saint Augustine exploded the dancehall and the teenagers became charcoal chinks nobody could particularly recognize as any particular person Before I come back to Shug and hismancipation I have a uote from the afterword where Daniel Woodrell Unbuttoning the CEO (The Suits Undone explains once why the place and its people hold so strong a fascination for him It s where his roots are and where his strength originates It was hard from the beginning toke a living from thin dirt and wild game and it stayed hard The arly white settlers came here

#to avoid the #
avoid the restraints that accompany civilization sheriffs taxes social conformity they sought isolation There has never been much belief in the ssential fairness of a social order that answers most readily to gold it s always been assumed the installed powers were corrupt and corruptible hence to be shunned and avoided Supper Club except when you couldn t and must pay them from the same afterword I like trains in the night dogs baying after coons the long hours when the wind sings as it channels between hills and hollers and flies along creek beds I ve known a thousand plain kindnesses here It is generally a pleasure to live among so many individuals who refuse to understandven the simplest of social rules if they find them odious This trait can of course raise troubleThe overall picture is a bleak one so than the previous two Woodrell novels I ve read and I would say as little as possible about the plot in order to avoid spoilers Dennis Lehane in the foreword Moanas New Friend (Disney Moana) explains the theme much better than I could It s the death of the sweet the death of the soul thend of anything approximating childhood or innocence I know Professional Capital every reader will have a different reaction and relate thevents in the book according to hisher personal xperiences and may focus on different aspects of the story For me the most important message is that we shouldn t rush to condemn or dismiss these people as born bad criminals or drug addicts or simply crazy and stupid They are the product of the world they live in and if there is to be any hope for them it lies not in lenghty prison sentences or fiery accusations of their lifestyle from the pulpits of various religions or politicians but in trying to understand the culture and in trying to them a better alternative a world fair and compassionate Shug screams out at the of the cards Fate has dealt him but there is nobody to hear or to answer The sweet has turned bitter in his mouth and another Red Akins is born The bottle where I hid my lifelong screams busted wide The screams flew loose where nobody could hear The road I walked along was sunburnt dirt and dust lifted with ach step I walked alone and felt my screams break free I screamed over things that happened I thought I d forgot I screamed past fence rows and cows along the sunburnt road Parts of me I didn t understand broke loose inside and clogged my throat The cows laid listening to my screams as if they knew all about them and didn t need to hear Highly recommended Thanks are due to the Pulp Group for choosing the novel as October s read It is a horror novel made chilling by the absence of any supernatural props and an awareness that these people are only too real and hurting maybe right next door to us 5 heartbreaking desolate and organic stars 7th Favorite Read of 2016 TieThis is a book Tennessee Williams would be proud to have written A novel that reads like both a play an. Orge Pelecanos best selling author of The Way HomeThe Death of Sweet Mister holds its own against anything in the canon of American literature This is a book I'd place alongside Faulkner's The Reivers or Hemingway's 'Big Two Hearted River' Kaye Gibbons best selling author of Ellen FosterThe Death of Sweet Mister is a strong contender for my all time favorite novel crime or otherwise Allan Guthrie Edgar Award nominated author of SlammerFiery poetic hair raising Los Angeles TimesC. ,

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The Death of Sweet Mister