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The Coalwood Way
Review Rating

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The Coalwood Way

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The Coalwood Way

Homer H. Hickam

Published by San Val | Language - English | Binding - Stationary

Average Rating

` 998 (5% off) ` 948

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From the #1 bestselling author of October Sky comes this rich, unforgettable tale. With the same dazzling storytelling that distinguished his first memoir, Homer Hickam takes us deeper into the soul of his West Virginia hometown at a moment when its unique way of life is buffeted by forces of time and change.

It is fall 1959. Homer “Sonny” Hickam and his fellow Rocket Boys are in their senior year at Big Creek High, and the town of Coalwood finds itself at a painful crossroads.

The strains can be felt within the Hickam home, where Homer Sr. struggles to save the mine, and his wife, Elsie, is feeling increasingly isolated from both her family and the townspeople. Sonny, despite a blossoming relationship with a local girl, finds his own mood darkened by an unexplainable sadness.

Then, with the holidays approaching, trouble at the mine and the arrival of a beautiful young outsider bring unexpected changes in both the Hickam family and the town of Coalwood ... as this luminous memoir moves toward its poignant conclusion.

Editorial Reviews

Our Review
Welcome back to Coalwood, West Virginia, home of high school student and regular guy Homer Hickam. When we last saw Homer, in the first installment of his memoirs, Rocket Boys, he was doing his part for the space race by overcoming astounding odds to design functional model rockets propelled by a mixture of zinc and moonshine. The Coalwood Way picks up where Rocket Boys let off, but whereas Hickam's first book spotlighted his efforts to shoot his rockets miles into the atmosphere, his second effort swings the young man's searching gaze around to focus on his immediate surroundings: Appalachia, 1959.Everything is puzzling for our Coalwood boy. His father, a single-minded mine foreman, is engaged in an exhausting battle to save the mine -- the town's lifeblood -- from the evil cost-cutting measures of its new corporate owners. Hickam's indomitable mother is insisting on going to Florida for Christmas and leaving everyone else behind. His Big Creek Missile Association is having trouble with its rockets. His favorite girl, the piano teacher's daughter, has a boyfriend whose father owns a car dealership. Oddest of all, Homer is suffering from some kind of intermittent, inexplicable depression. Through his efforts to understand his own feelings and place in the world, we learn all about the happenings in his small town that's anything but sleepy.Indeed, the town of Coalwood is a magnetic character in Hickam's life. And Coalwood is in trouble. Miners are out of jobs, children are starving in the next hollow over, and capitalism is just wreaking havoc on the once peaceful spot. As Hickam begins his tale, "Coalwood's men still walked with a trudging grace to and from the vast, deep mine," but he knows, and the reader knows, that this world is slipping away. All we can do is watch the slow slide through Hickam's eyes.It's a tough job to write a balanced story about a place you have loved and lost. The Coalwood Way has so much heart it fairly oozes off the pages, but, happily, Hickam manages to keep his account just this side of saccharine. His sincerity and knack for spinning a yarn allow the reader to let her guard down and simply enjoy the tale of a place that once existed in an America that used to be.--Rachel Fishman


Book: The Coalwood Way
ISBN-13: 9781417617371
Product Code 9781417617371
Binding: Stationary
Publishing Date: 2001-01
Publisher: San Val
Language: English

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