Wise-cracking Wiley Cantrell is loud and roaringly outrageous—and he needs to be to keep his deeply religious neighbors and family in the Deep South at bay. A failed writer on food stamps, Wiley works a minimum wage job and barely manages to keep himself and his deaf son, Noah, more than a stone’s throw away from Dumpster-diving.
Noah was a meth baby and has the birth defects to prove it. He sees how lonely his father is and tries to help him find a boyfriend while Wiley struggles to help Noah have a relationship with his incarcerated mother, who believes the best way to feed a child is with a slingshot. No wonder Noah becomes Wiley’s biggest supporter when Boston nurse Jackson Ledbetter walks past Wiley’s cash register and sets his sugar tree on fire.
Jackson falls like a wet mule wearing concrete boots for Wiley’s sense of humor. And while Wiley represents much of the best of the South, Jackson is hiding a secret that could threaten this new family in the making.
When North meets South, the cultural misunderstandings are many, but so are the laughs, and the tears, but, as they say down in Dixie, it’s all good.
I don’t normally read books like this. I like to read fluffy stuff that helps me to escape, and books that deal with realistic issues aren’t usually my preference. But, I was glad I read this book. It was special book.
Wylie is a single father living in the Mississippi. He’s also a gay man with a child who was born addicted to meth and has physical defects due to that, as he’s deaf. Wiley has dreams that are side-tracked by life, but he makes a life for him and his son the best he can. Enter Jackson, a northerner that could be the answer to Wiley’s loneliness. Problem is that Jackson is not as perfect as he first seems, and it takes time for Wiley to be able to come to terms with the fact that dreams do come true, just not always as you planned.
If I had to choose one word to describe this book it would be intense. There is so much depth to this book in so many ways, it’s hard to describe. But, as a reviewer I will give it a shot! It touches on issues of addiction, religion, bigotry, ignorance and prejudice but it somehow manages to be funny and touching. I loved Wiley. How he could still find humor in situations in his life are beyond me, but he did it. He was a strong, brave and loveable character.
I found a couple of things to be a bit strange in this book, such as how things worked out in the end with Jackson and Wiley. I won’t ruin it, but it did leave me scratching my head a bit, wondering a bit why Wiley wanted love so bad if he
wasn’t willing to really accept it. I guess that’s a realistic rendering of love though, and after I thought about it, it did work with the spirit of the book.
Overall, I just thought this was an incredibly well-written and touching story. I don’t know much about the south, but I assume that it is a realistic portrayal of what it must be like to live there. It had a great feel to it and once I started it, I couldn’t stop. 4 stars.