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Friday, October 31, 2014

Boo Who
I am cancelling Halloween this year at our house for a number of reasons. One, I am slowly recuperating form the daddy of all colds and I am too selfish to pass out my lingering, contagious germs along with the candy (although I had planned on being more health-conscious and doling out juicy, red apples, a la Regina, the Evil Queen from Once...). And with my immune system unable at this point to fight back, I am afraid of what the little runny-nosed tricky-treaters will pass on to me. For two, I had a sneak peek at some of the neighborhood children's costumes and, frankly, I was insultingly appalled at what a number of kids – and a few adults – will come dressed as. Among other things: fake Ebola hazmat suits and pseudo ISIS combat outfits. Ah, um, uh? Whatever happened to cutesy Disney characters, ghastly ghosts in white sheets, hobos with charcoal beards, and cowboys flashing plastic lariats?

This prelude to the Holiday season is one of the few entertaining nights of the year. It’s supposed to be fun for kiddilings and adults alike, but I don't find the threat of a global pandemic (read: pestilence and plague) and the senseless slaughter of people just ‘cause they don’t believe what you believe anything to emulate, celebrate, or poke fun at, even if you are parading around in fake costumes begging for treats. This is not the time nor will it be my place when and where anyone thus attired will be rewarded for such crass, non-politically correct display of downright rude insensitivity. It's bad enough we daily read and hear about doom and gloom and genocide in the media where pundits just for the sake of sensationalism
endlessly spread and spout hysterical fear and misinformation. Please do NOT bring any of this to my door tonight, folks, because, despite the fact this is one of my favorite events of the fall season, I will not answer.

Instead, after taking FrankieB for an early romp in the back through a previously planned secret "escape" route, bolting all my doors, and turning out all the outside lights, I am holing myself up in front a warm fire with a stiff drink and a copy of one of the most intriguing and mesmerizing books I've read in a long time: Fourth of July Creek, the debut novel of Smith Henderson, a very talented young author who hails from Portland, Oregon via the hills of Montana and who knows more than just a bit about the horrors of misinformed fanatics – religious, political, and/or otherwise. Highly touted on the New York Times bestseller list a few months ago, I couldn't wait to add a copy of it in my semi-annual splurge on books. But, alas, with all my other time-consuming literary endeavors, it sat in the middle of my to-read stack until last weekend when I became ill and finally found the time for it.

Nearly flat on one's back with a cold verging on the flu with no energy to do anything else but read and nap (binge episodes of Once..., Parenthood, and The Paradise notwithstanding), I had huge chunks of time to devour the mis-adventures of one Pete Snow, a Department of Family Services social worker who finds himself in the mountain towns of Montana embroiled in the lives of disenfranchised children; one really scary, but often kindly, religious fanatic who is convinced we are on the edge of Armageddon; and a massive FBI dragnet that threatens to destroy our plucky, yet unlucky hero. I am so engrossed in this narrative, told with a quirky and very masculine, yet sensitive and uniquely descriptive writing style (I am piqued and delighted with this author’s individualistic and quite creative phasing and word choices), that I woke up at 3:30 this morning to read yet another two or three chapters – I am now about two-thirds through – before falling asleep planning today's (non)activities in order to see what happens next...Yes, dear followers, it is THAT good.

One author/reviewer (Phillip Meyer, as a matter of fact) boasted that this novel "...seems to encompass and address all of America’s problems." In the light – or is that dark? – of all that is happening in today's world, I can easily see the perturbing parallels. Yet, in the midst of his awesomely horrendous tale, Henderson writes with hope between his starkly realistic lines, a bit of humor in his prose, and true-to-life honesty in his characters. This is in many senses of the word a tale that had to be truly told. It is must read for everyone who dares to venture into the seedier, underside of what life for far too many is really all about.

And, for tonight, that is scary enough for me.

1:33 pm edt          Comments

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June J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is an author, poet, and librettist. Her currently published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations, two volumes of poetry, stories for children (of all ages) and a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Miss Elmira's Secret Treasure: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
Colonial Theatre: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Roarin' 20s 
Phoenix Hose, Hook & Ladder: A Novel of Phoenixville during World War I
Columbia Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World War II
Rainbow in the Sky
Meditations for New Members

Adventures of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Spinach Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A Collection of More Spiritual Poems

We Three Kings

Beauty and the Beast


Noah's Rainbow

Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding Hood



Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She is currently working on her sixth novel.

June's novels can be purchased at amazon.com, through Barnes and Noble,
at the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area,
the Gateway Pharmacy in Phoenixvile, PA

For more information about her musicals, which are also available on amazon.com,