4.4.13

BLUES LESSONS, by Robert Hellenga

Once again, Robert Hellenga delivers, this time a solid story of life: of love and risk and loss and the perils and sadness of not listening, of how soon it's too late to talk. This is a story told by Martin Dujksterhuis, raised in a small farming town in southern Michigan where his family owns a large orchard, and where most homes for miles around contain his relatives. Martin loves Cory, a black girl who is his best friend and, only once, his lover. About the same time, he finds blues, the blacks' haunting music unknown to the larger world, and it becomes an ineradicable part of him. It is the 50's, and turbulent America is beginning to openly wrestle with its ancient intractable problem: the relations between black and white. And then Cory and her family vanish, overnight, and Martin is cast into a seemingly perpetual twilight where all plans for his future vanish as well. And then he finds Cory... Grab your tissues and a box of chocolates and curl up for a weekend of marvelous and very satisfying reading. Hellenga always raises as many questions as he answers, but they're questions we all have at one time or another, and it's nice to have this author along for the Q and A. A 5+.