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Publisher's Summary

An amazing story of a boy overcoming life’s struggles. Compelling, suspenseful, and original, Never Cry Again is the story of a 10-year-old boy in rural Southern Arkansas during America's Great Depression, forced from his home into a life of survival.

Afraid and alone, Drew begins a dangerous but remarkable journey, knowing he can trust only the Black community that has surrounded him. His chilling and astonishing adventures as he meets liars, bootleggers, and thieves while suffering hunger and poverty paint a compelling mosaic of life in the 1930's rural American South.

Drew's adventures on the way to a responsible and compassionate manhood is a story relevant to the upheavals and turbulence in society today.

©2016 Jim Cole (P)2019 Jim Cole

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Powerful Coming-of-Age Story

Coming-of-age novels have been a staple of American literature pretty much from the beginning, and over the years the genre has become a particular favorite of mine. (Strangely enough, I think the older I get, the more I enjoy them.) I find the novels generally to be inspirational in tone, but their main appeal to me is the sense of nostalgia I so often feel as I read them. We all have our own coming-of age stories, of course, and that makes it easy to relate to the fictional struggles and obstacles faced by others as they make their own way toward adulthood.

Never Cry Again, published in 2016, is 80-year-old Jim Cole’s debut novel. As such it is the first book in the Texas author’s planned trilogy that will be concluded with novels set in World War II Galveston and 1960s Dallas. The Never Cry Again storyline begins in Depression-era Arkansas and continues through Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico as young Drew, who was made to leave home at age 10, seeks a life better than the one he has been forced to endure by his prostitute mother.

Drew spent the first few years of his life in the house of prostitution in which he was born. Edith, his mother, seldom acknowledged the boy’s existence, ensuring that he would be almost completely raised by a black housekeeper and the pastor of the housekeeper’s church. For the rest of his life, Drew would think of these people as his real family, and never would he forget them. Without them, he likely would not have survived childhood, and even with them in his corner, the boy struggled mightily to discourage the unwanted attentions of at least one of the “uncles” his mother exposed him to.

Bottom Line: Never Cry Again depicts a childhood from hell, a journey to manhood that would not have been possible without the intervention of the kind strangers who kept the boy relatively safe as he moved from home to home, and state to state, over the course of a dozen years. A ten-year-old boy traveling on his own will attract the attention of every predator whose path he crosses, and Drew was no exception. Some of them wanted sexual favors from the boy, and some simply wanted the money he carried – but none of them worried about what they would have to do to get what they wanted from him. Jim Cole doesn’t pull his punches here. He tells Drew’s story frankly, often using language raw enough to make clear exactly what Drew’s world was really like.

(My review is based on the audiobook version of Never Cry Again read by Kevin Lusignolo, a narrator of remarkable skill who is able via voice and accent variation to create vividly unique characters in the mind of the readers. This version is available on Audible.)

Copy provided by Author for Review Purposes

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Good Book! Narration was Awesome!

Narrator did an outstanding job on this book! Made the short come alive with the voice changes for characters . Thanks!

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Captivating Story

The storyline captivated me and it was hard to put the book down. Love the details shared about the characters and how they all related.

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Excellent narration and a wonderful story.

Great narrator with perfect voices and a wonderful memoir. Easy to listen to. Reminiscent of Sam Hell