From my collection of historical and out of print cookbooks, I know the Depression Era was a difficult time: homemakers had mandatory food rationing which yielded both unique recipes and creative cooking. The imagery from the Era is stark and colorless and few fiction stories delve into that time period because it was such a difficult time.
Ain't No Bum (Dennis C. McCreight, 2012, ISBN 9781466478008) is one of the few that treats the time period with thoughtful reflection through the eyes of a young man, Milt McCoy. The tale begins with a nervous wife, Violet, and her young boy welcoming home the husband and father gone for four years fighting in World War II. Milt endures life long misery from his father and he tries until the end to prove to his father he is worthy of being called a man.
The difficult times of economic losses, a world war, and people seemingly setting him back at every step should turn Milt into someone bitter and hopeless. It instead changes him into a steady provider and faithful husband. Those around Milt are influenced by his courage and determination, and it is through others' words that eventually seals his relationship with his father, although time never really ends all wounds.
McCreight turns an otherwise dismal story of a man's lifelong struggles into one of true change, and with the main character going from light to dark to the shock of realization he was turning into someone he despised. With a little help from his wife he turns it all around again. Violet seemed real, and while supporting her husband through thick and thin, from somewhat happy times to a true family medical crisis, her fears and doubts showed through which was pivotal in the story, and actually helps to make it believable.
The story shows every little thing we do starts a chain reaction in others, and sometimes it is through a stranger's words that ends up changing the mind of someone close to us.
- Ain't No Bum; by Dennis C. McCreight
- ISBN13: 9781466478008
- Paperback, 388 pages; Kindle version available
Disclosure: This book was purchased by the author for the Kindle. Any opinions are the author's own.