Colemines

Official Site of Award Winning Author Jim Cole

Category: Uncategorized

Heidi Simone’s Onlinebookclub Review

Genre: Historical Fiction

Number of Pages: 286

Publication Date: July 12, 2016

 Amazon Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

OBC Rating: 4 out of 4 stars

 Themes: Abuse/Neglect, Overcoming struggles; Losing innocence; Segregation; Acceptance; Survival

 SYNOPSIS

In the decade of the 1930’s, young Drew has never known love from his mother. Instead, he has come to know love from the black community that has surrounded him. However, his unsupportive and neglectful mother pulls Drew from the ones he loves and is forced to live in terrible conditions: barely food to eat, torn clothing to wear, and a mother who is constantly drunk and entertaining various ‘uncles’ in her bedroom.

 Left with no other choice, after being sexually assaulted and thrown out of his house, this ten-year-old embarks on a journey like no other. He jumps in a boxcar and accepts what the future holds for him. At this moment in this young boy’s life he vows that no matter what happens to him, he will never cry again.

 REVIEW

This debut novel is worthy of so much praise! It has so many of the elements that I look forward to in a book. Great character development, exciting plot, important themes, and a read that I learned a lot from.

Drew. What can I say? He has experienced so much in his life that no child (or anyone, really) should experience. He never knew his father, his mom regrets him being born, he’s known starvation, has had to fend for himself, lost loved ones, and sexually assaulted. With all these experiences, though, this young boy never lost the one thing that made him special – Drew’s friendliness and acceptance of all. In a time when African Americans were poorly thought of, Drew loved and trusted every single African American he came in contact with. This put him in odds with some, but he never faltered in the love he had for his real family.

 The plot is steady and realistic. Though I kept thinking, how can this boy be put through so much, yet hold such a beautiful heart? I have come to realize it is because he is a strong person and realizes life can always be better. Through all of his turmoil, he’s never given up hope that he will one day find a way of living that will not be so upsetting.

 There were times when my heart was racing, times when my heart felt sorrow, and times when my heart was elated. How can I not love a read like that?

 The writing itself is very easy to follow. I felt the author captured the innocence and mentality of a mature ten-year-old extremely well. Even though, the reader follows Drew as he gets older, his kind and welcoming voice did not change. I did find, at times, the writing to be a bit rigid, but it did not take away from the plot itself.

 I mentioned I learned some things while I read. I apologize for seeming ignorant about these historical events, but here is what I learned:

 The detainment camps in the US during WWII – Japanese were taken here when Pearl Harbor was attacked

 Eleanor Roosevelt’s involvement in desegregation

 Alamogordo’s nuclear test bomb, code name – Trinity

 Overall, it was a pleasure to read Never Cry Again. Not only does the story show a boy who overcame all of the struggles he faced, but it gives the readers a glimpse of what life was like during the 1930’s and 1940’s.

 DO I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?

Absolutely! To adults who enjoy a good historical read about a boy who overcame his life struggles.

 

Kirkus Review

Recently, Never Cry Again received a Kirkus review. For an author, a Kirkus review is a significant milestone. For those followers of this site who may be unfamiliar with Kirkus Reviews, here’s a little about them:

OUR STORY

Founded in 1933, Kirkus has been an authoritative voice in book discovery for 80 years. Kirkus Reviews magazine gives industry professionals a sneak peek at the most notable books being published weeks before they’re released. Kirkus serves the book reviews to consumers in a weekly email newsletter and on Kirkus.com, giving readers unbiased, critical recommendations they can trust. (https://www.kirkusreviewscom/about/history/)

Here is the Kirkus review of Never Cry Again:

NEVER CRY AGAIN by Jim Cole

 KIRKUS REVIEW

An impoverished boy takes a journey through the rural South of the 1930s and ’40s in Cole’s debut novel. 

Drew Simmons is the unintended product of his mother Edith’s affair with a married man. Edith never takes to Drew, so she’s happy to relegate his care to the prostitutes in the brothel where they live. The young boy flourishes from the attention and becomes part of the local community. However, when he turns 5, the brothel’s madam says that she can’t house a school-aged child. Edith and Drew are forced to move away to Arkansas, where she has a “sugar daddy” who will pay their expenses. Drew’s quality of life deteriorates quickly, however, as his mother entertains various men for money. During visits from his “uncles,” Drew is forced to wait outside the house and is often left to his own devices for hours on end. When one of the men takes an inappropriate interest in him, the 10-year-old knows that it’s time to leave. Thus begins Drew’s incredible trek across several Southern states, during which he finds himself embroiled in one fantastic catastrophe after another, from gambling rings to pursuit by the Ku Klux Klan. Along the way, he just never seems to catch a break. Cole tells the story in straightforward, concise prose, and it moves at a steady pace, developing Drew’s character as he surmounts the many obstacles he faces. The plot is part Huckleberry Finn and part Stand by Me, showing a boy who knows his own mind and who only needs to find a place where he’s free to be himself. The child’s kind spirit and unpredictable adventures will easily keep readers engaged. Cole also tackles many weighty issues over the course of this nerve-racking tale, ranging from racial prejudice and sexual abuse to untraditional families and the meaning of friendship.

An engaging coming-of-age tale for fans of historical drama. (https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/jim-cole/never-cry-again/)

Online Book Club Review

Official Review: Never Cry Again by Jim Cole

Post Number:#1 by Kdonegan91 » Yesterday, 00:43

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Never Cry Again” by Jim Cole.]

4 out of 4 stars

The novel Never Cry Again by Jim Cole is written in the historical fiction genre. The protagonist, Drew (Andrew George Simmons), has had a rough life since birth and his struggles seem to worsen with time. Drew’s life starts in a brothel where he was cared for by Maude, the brothel’s housemaid, and by the congregation of a nearby church. Even though it was rare for this time period, the all African-American congregation of Ebenezer Church of God in Jesus Christ accepted Caucasian Drew. Although loved by many, his mother, Edith, resented that he was born and genuinely hated him. However, Drew tried his hardest to find a speck of kindness and love in his mother.. After Edith and five years old Drew move away from the brothel, his life gets much more complicated as well as lonely. In the new city, he was picked on for being so poor and for all the “Uncles” that visit his mom. Drew was unloved, unwanted, and unappreciated. His only friends are the colored kids and his Japanese classmate, Kowanda. At such a young age, Drew knows more heartache and pain than most of us will ever know.

The author guides the reader throughout the rest of Drew’s life which takes place in the southern Unites States during the Depression era and World War II. There are many twists and turns along the way. Did Drew improve his life or did he turn out just like his hateful and poverty-stricken mother? Do our choices really decide our fate or does our upbringing determine where we end up?

I applaud Jim Cole for numerous reasons. He did a superb job creating, formatting, and editing Never Cry Again. Although an averagely long book, two hundred and ninety pages, I did not find one spelling or grammatical error. Also, the author writes the book in chronological order and the chapters are titled to easily follow the timeline. However, my favorite aspect of the book is the character development. I felt Drew’s pain, heartache, love, and happiness. Although, this novel does contain an abundance of characters, the author incorporates them so well that they leave a mark and you do not forget them. My favorite relationship was between Drew and his best friend, Leon. Drew is an outcast because he is  poor and his mom is the town hooker. Leon is degraded simply because of the color of his skin. However, Drew and Leon look past each other’s differences and choose to love one another. This creates a beautiful friendship. Also, Cole sets the backdrop perfectly. World War II and the Depression are mingled with the story just enough to keep the setting obvious.

On the other hand, I have one complaint about Never Cry Again. The single criticism is the author’s use of curse words. Although, I understand some were used to create the setting and mood of that time period. I am a strong Christian and some of the words made me flinch.

I give Never Cry Again by Jim Cole a perfect 4 out of 4 stars. I simply could not have asked for a better book. While reading, I easily realized that the author poured his focus and talent into this book. I wish I could rate it a five just because I could not put it down. The excellent character development, perfect editing, superb formatting, easy progression, and the nicely incorporated backdrop make for a flawless book. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys historical fiction. However, I would not recommend it to a reader under the age of eighteen because of the foul language and some of the mature events.

******

Never Cry Again

View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Newspaper Review

This post features a newspaper review of Never Cry Again:

Fiction Steeped in History

Never Cry Again, A Five Star Novel by Jim Cole

Review by Ann Witte, republished here with permission:

Aug. 10, 2016

In his book Never Cry Again author Jim Cole leads the reader to ponder the effects of poverty on opportunity and behavior.

It seems that poverty, as in the Great Depression and its gut wrenching aftermath, has the ability to bring out the worst and the best in the members of Cole’s cast.

The descriptions of characters and events bring to mind a movie set. The reader can visualize the scenes and feel drawn into the time and place. It is as though Cole was there and is sharing his personal impressions. He is that kind of writer.

The main character is a boy named Drew. From babyhood he is challenged and shaped by the forces of his surroundings. When Drew’s home is in a house of ill repute, he receives care and nurturing from surprising sources, so that the youngster learns about compassion and commitment.

When Drew is 10 years old, he feels compelled to leave home due to an abusive situation caused by his mother’s lack of protection for him from her deviate male associate. Drew hops a freight train to the great unknown. Continue reading

© 2018 Colemines

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑