Monday, February 24, 2014

#BookReview: Bedrock Faith by Eric Charles May

Synopsis: After fourteen years in prison, Gerald “Stew Pot” Reeves, age thirty-one, returns home to live with his mom in Parkland, a black middle-class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. A frightening delinquent before being sent away (his infamies included butchering a neighbor’s cat, torching another neighbor’s garage, and terrorizing the locals with a scary pit bull named Hitler), his return sends Parkland residents into a religiously infused tailspin, which only increases when Stew Pot announces that he experienced a religious awakening in prison. Most neighbors are skeptical of this claim, with one notable exception: Mrs. Motley, a widowed retiree and the Reeves’s next-door neighbor who loans Stew Pot a Bible, which is seen by Stew Pot and many in the community as a friendly gesture.

Review: If you've ever seen or heard of the 1978 film, Harper Valley PTA, you know it's about a woman in the community who's accused of raising her daughter wrong and just generally being a poor representative of womanhood.  Well Stew Pot is no one's mother, but the community around him has already passed judgement on him based on his actions as a teenager.  He spent his teens making life for the residents of Parkland a living hell.  Fourteen years, and much sooner than anyone thought they'd ever see him again, Stew Pot is back in Parkland, living with his mother.

With the exception of his mother, absolutely no one is happy to see Stew Pot back.  But this is a new and improved Stew Pot, come to right the wrongs of the past.  Now a Bible thumper, Stew Pot just wants to spread the good news, but as he's rejected by all of his wary (and rightly so) neighbors, he realizes that he needs to take some drastic measures to bring this gaggle of heathens to the Lord.

At first I thought Stew Pot was a crack pot, but as he seemed to work his way down a list extracting revenge on each and every neighbor that dared to question his sincerity and faith, I couldn't wait to find out what dirt he'd expose next.  He drives those around him crazy, so much so that they can't even pay attention to what's going on in their own homes.  By the time he's done, Stew Pot has made the old ways he used to torture neighborhood seem like the child's play that they really were.

I didn't expect to get drawn in to Bedrock Faith as much as I did, but once I got started, I could not put it down.  I couldn't wait to see what was coming next, which of the neighbor's would get their comeuppance and who would emerge as the final victor, Stew Pot or the people of Parkland.  You'll have to give this a read yourself and determine who you think is the ultimate winner.  I'd be interested in hearing who you think came out on top.

Published: March 2014
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.
Pre-order your copy here.

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