Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: House of Prayer No. 2 by Mark Richard

Author: Mark Richard
Publisher-Format: New York : Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, e-book
Year of publication: c2011.
Subject: growing up poor and special
Setting: Southern Virginia, California, Texas, variety of sites
Genre: Memoir
Source: public library download 
Recommended? For readers who enjoy memoirs, southern settings, life success stories

This one was a complete surprise to me. I downloaded it from the library out of just plain curiosity - hadn't seen very much buzz here, or on the blogs. And that's a shame. THIS IS AN OUTSTANDING PIECE OF WRITING. Great memoir, great capturing of place and time, and written in the 2nd person....something that took a few minutes to settle into, but boyo boyo does it work. Mark Richard is a writer of spartan prose that grabs the reader and won't let go. Once I started this, all 7 of the other books I had going got shoved aside and I spent every spare minute for the next two days reading it.

It's the story of his childhood and his rather adventurous and torturous adolescence and early manhood. Labeled a "special child" from birth, he shows us how a life of poverty, labels, physical deformity all played a role in making him the incredible writer he is today.  His descriptions of lying in body casts for months on end could have been quite depressing; instead his straight-forward narration, sometimes peppered with an irreverent tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, encourages the reader to cheer for this "special child" and spurs us to keep going to see how life turns out. We watch as he avoids disaster after disaster to evolve into the highly functioning successful writer and husband/father that he is today.

RUN don't walk to get a copy. I may have borrowed this from the library, but very soon, we're going to hit the "buy" button on the Nook, because Mr. Tutu wants to read it too, and it's so good we'll both want to re-read it.  Trust your Tutu.....this one is not just good, it's outstanding. Coming on top of just having finished The Sense of an Ending I'm feeling like 2012 is gonna be a very good reading year.

1 comment:

  1. dear tina-

    thank you for your kind, good words. as a writer, you never know about your work, your audience, your abilities, you just do the best you can and hope someone, a careful reader like yourself, 'gets it.' and i'm so grateful you 'got it.'

    all best,

    mark richard


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