The only two books I have read in 2020 are written Richmonders I know personally. One is a non-fiction work by Anne Moss Rogers (read the review here), and the other is a fictional story inspired by a true story written by Richmond native Randy White, founder of local non-profit For the Love of Learning. For the RFM Bookshelf, I thought perhaps I should review a book that was more widely known, maybe one of Oprah’s or Reece’s or Jenna’s current picks, but then it occurred to me that the authors of those “books of the month” didn’t work any harder than these local authors who also poured their blood, sweat, and tears into their books. I enjoyed both books very much, so why not shine a light on our local pool of talented writers from time to time.
Verities: A Journey by Tracks, by Randy White, tells the story of a broken family from “the wrong side of the tracks” and is narrated by one of the family’s two sons, Sam, who is twelve when the story begins. Throughout the book, we see what life is like as the son of two alcoholic parents, a best friend who is more privileged, and a brother who shares their father’s verbal and physical abuse.
The highest highs and lowest lows of first love are explored with heartbreaking emotion, and at times, the reader will wonder how Sam could possibly survive after experiencing so much loss before he turned twenty-fiv. Through it all, rays of hope shine through, sage advice comes from a few older and wiser mentors, and in the end, true love and the chance for a fresh start prevail.
I love that the chapters are called tracks and are each titled with the name of a song (Fortunate Son, Brilliant Disguise, The Sound of Silence, and Bitter Sweet Symphony, to name a few), with a key lyric at the onset of each chapter (or track), setting up what’s to come.
Verities: A Journey by Tracks is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Belle Isle Books.