Skip to main content

The Duke Don't Dance - Book Review

Not every book starts perfectly, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Sometimes you've got to eat your veggies to get desert. I'm still a little hungry for sweets after reading Richard Sharp's The Duke Don't Dance, but I don't expect perfection these days - not on Kindle anyway.

If I never mentioned it, I worked for a publisher once and had to wade through piles and piles of manuscripts every day, but sometimes I found stories written humor, usually unintentional.

One of my favorites was about hunters up in the Pacific Northwest. The narrative explained that finally, after days of searching, the hunters saw several deer hiding up in the trees ahead.  Now this was exciting since I had never seen deer climbing trees, but I don’t hunt them too often.
On the other hand, even Stephen King admits that he once sent out an early copy of one of his books to a friend who admonished him for a section that read, “When springtime came, the local hunters rejoiced in their ability to go out and shoot the peasants.”
Sharp's writing is occasionally funny and irreverent, and for those of us who are new to the dance, plenty to learn about the lives of those who breached not just the 60’s but also Vietnam, Watergate, and the malaise of the ‘80’s. However, there is also a disquieting resentment, perhaps misread as smugness by some, of a generation that eventually asks itself, “Where did we go wrong?”
Dance starts at a wake, as a confusing barrage of characters glimpse the life of their passed friend and ponder their own lives, not unlike “The Big Chill,” without, the undertone of fateful fun. In Dance, they leave the funeral disappointed that their own generation, one thrust deeply into a cleft of time between The Greatest Generation and the Boomer Generation, one overlooked and unappreciated, left behind by nature, time, and popular culture, might be remembered as only a Silent Generation.
Author Sharp refuses to be silent, presenting a multi-protagonist story that mingles the culture, feel, and inertia of post W.W. II America through the 60’s and beyond. Characters are deep and satisfying with proven motivation that Sharp uses to set a leisurely pace, never hurrying at the expense of story.
The book is heavy on narration, with lapses into passive writing, but perhaps that’s the whole back-story. And, as the silent, passive generation lived past 1984 and George Orwell didn’t prove to be the all-seeing, all-knowing man behind the curtain, the wheels just fell off.
Now, with the lug nuts on the wheels tightened by the Boomers it is obvious that no generation has all the answers. Maybe Duke Don’t Dance, but you’ll have to read the book to find the multi-layered reasons why.

Thanks for reading - Al W Moe


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Review of "The Career Killer" by Ali Gunn

Author Ali Gunn brings us the first in her DCI Mabey series, with The Career Killer, a smart detective-mystery novel. Set in London, the main character works at London Yard, where her father wrote many of the training manuals. She may be her father's daughter, but her fellow detective would have preferred her father's son to be the heir apparent to his legacy.

Newly-minted Detective Chief Inspector Elsie Maybe takes her new promotion in stride until she inherits a wonky tribe of underlings and a murder at an old church. She's not fast to gather clues, not because she's moving at half-speed due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but because the nature of the new string of murders has some ring of normalcy or familiarity to her, starting with a young woman in a wedding dress found in the ruins of an ancient London church.

She doesn't move like Columbo or Hercule Poirot, asking questions and sifting the carnage over in her mind. Instead, she seems to plot the next move of …

Review of "Hop on Board" by Nicholas A. Price

Coming February 15 (and currently on Preorder) is Nicholas A. Price's children's book Hop On Board. Written for children 5 to 9, this story carries the tagline "We are the Germ family and you love to carry us around everywhere!"

Colorfully illustrated by Gigi Art, Price's story centers on the tough life germs lead, especially when silly children use soap, which particularly irritates germs.

Children will enjoy the many pictures, especially the ones of rogue germs who try to hide out in places too small for the human eye to see.

If the story and pictures don't convince your children to wash up before meals, then the Ghastly Facts presented near the end surely will.

They include such scary things as "Fifty thousand of the largest virus germs could fit on a pinhead!Ten thousand could fit on a grain of salt," and "Viruses can only survive inside a living plant, person or animal, yet they can still live on a dirty surface for a while and wait!"…

Review of "I Remember the Time" by Kim Hemphill

In the simplest terms, Kim Hemphill is a survivor. That's all he knew, that's all he had. And, he's a Seattle Mariner's fan, so things are still tough since the Mariner's have never made it to the World Series, but he's still rooting for them. And, I'm a Mariner's fan, so I know what it's like rooting for the underdog when there's no help in sight.
Of course, that's what Kim's life was like for years. The car he was riding in what hit by a train when he was three years old. The result was cuts, scrapes, bruises and 105 stitches across his face and his scalp. Just an early turning point. 
His family life was rough and tumble, and they were so poor he bought himself his first toothbrush when he was 14, shortly before he lost his brother to the Vietnam war.
If you are ready for a tough read, a story of homelessness, a story of learning to live with what you've got on your back and nothing more, then I Remember the Time, Kim Hemphill&#…