Wreckerby Summer Wood
After foster-parenting four young siblings a decade ago, Summer Wood tried to imagine a place where kids who are left alone or taken from their families would find the love and the family they deserve. For her, fiction was the tool to realize that world, and Wrecker, the central character in her second novel, is the abandoned child for whom life turns around in
After foster-parenting four young siblings a decade ago, Summer Wood tried to imagine a place where kids who are left alone or taken from their families would find the love and the family they deserve. For her, fiction was the tool to realize that world, and Wrecker, the central character in her second novel, is the abandoned child for whom life turns around in most unexpected ways. It's June of 1965 when Wrecker enters the world. The war is raging in Vietnam, San Francisco is tripping toward flower power, and Lisa Fay, Wrecker's birth mother, is knocked nearly sideways by life as a single parent in a city she can barely manage to navigate on her own. Three years later, she's in prison, and Wrecker is left to bounce around in the system before he's shipped off to live with distant relatives in the wilds of Humboldt County, California. When he arrives he's scared and angry, exploding at the least thing, and quick to flee. Wrecker is the story of this boy and the motley group of isolated eccentrics who come together to raise him and become a family along the way.
For readers taken with the special boy at the center of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Wrecker will be a welcome companion.
“Opening Wrecker is akin to unwrapping a gift wrapped with great care. You don't know what is inside, but you know it's something special. Summer Wood, in her second novel, delivers a rare treat in this story of a boy and his mothers. It unfolds along a deliciously unpredictable path, one that can and should be savored.” Denver Post
“[An] affecting novel... Wood succeeds with surefooted prose; a lush, earthy California backdrop; and a sensitive story of nurturing and family.” Publishers Weekly
“A sweet adoptive-home story with extra heart and lovingly flawed characters, this second novel by Wood will find its home with fans of Jo-Ann Mapson and Pam Houston.” Library Journal
“Wood moves her characters gracefully through trying times, both cultural and personal.” Kirkus Reviews
“A page-turner…a literary exploration of how love breaks us and heals us...told in highly crafted prose that wastes not a word and is infused with sensitive insight. Wrecker is an unforgettable novel. ” New Mexico Magazine
“Summer Wood's remarkable novel carves its way, sentence by gorgeous sentence, into the great complexity of love and family and community. Her dialogue is so natural and full we feel as though we are illicitly eavesdropping on these complex, flawed, and full-hearted characters. Wrecker is a tender, stunning novel.” Meredith Hall, author of Without a Map
“Wrecker is a wonderful portrait of a California long lost, but still alive here. Wrecker will wreck your heart and then put it back together again, with the big heart of a chosen family.” Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon and Take One Candle Light a Room
“This novel is a love song to well intentioned, wholly dedicated, and deeply flawed motherhood. Summer Wood creates more than just a great story, deftly, elegantly, and intricately told. She broadens both our notion of family, and our appreciation for whatever we call our own. Wrecker is a big-hearted, big-loving compassionate book.” Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness
“Well, I've been Wreckered. Drawn in, delighted and devastated by one small boy and the people who love him. Summer Wood has a keen eye for place, and for the ordinary moments in life that become extraordinary in memory. Here, she aims that astute eye on a ragtag group living on the outskirts of society, each member pulled into the same orbit by the centrifugal force that is Wrecker. This book is a fierce and unapologetic celebration of life, a lesson in nurturing, and a reminder of the work it takes to get the real loving done.” Barb Johnson, author of More of This World or Maybe Another
A novel that follows the growth of a young boy—appropriately named Wrecker because caution is not a major aspect of his personality—to a man of 20, ready to take off on his own.
The circumstances that bring Wrecker to Bow Farm are unusual. He's born in 1965 to a young woman who three years later is convicted of a crime involving drugs and guns. She's put in prison for the foreseeable future, and her son is claimed by her brother-in-law Len, who doesn't really want the burden and responsibility of a child, especially since Len's wife, Meg, has recently suffered brain damage as the result of an infection. Len lives on a remote farm in the Mattole Valley, in Humboldt County, northern California. Somewhat bewildered by what to do about the boy, he takes him next door to Bow Farm, inhabited by an eccentric band of individualists who try to live off the unforgiving land. Earth Mother Melody is happy to have the boy and begins to raise Wrecker as her own child. Also populating the farm are Willow, who's attracted to Len and eventually begins an affair with him; Johnny Appleseed, who becomes something of an environmental terrorist; and Ruth, an older woman who becomes a grandmother-figure to Wrecker. Meanwhile, Wrecker's mother, Lisa Fay, is working out her sentence in the penitentiary and keeping faith that eventually she'll be reunited with her son. Melody's fear is that her role of adoptive parent is not sanctioned with any piece of paper, so she has no legal claim on the child. We watch the stages of Wrecker's growth from a taciturn and skittish child to a more voluble and less isolated adult. The adults form an extended family for Wrecker and in the process lurch their way through the awkward stages of parenthood.
Wood (Arroyo, 2001) moves her characters gracefully through trying times, both cultural and personal.
- Bloomsbury USA
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Meet the Author
Summer Wood is the author of Arroyo. In 2007 she was awarded the Literary Gift of Freedom from A Room of Her Own Foundation for her work on Wrecker. She teaches writing for the University of New Mexico's Taos Summer Writer's Conference and in 2009 directed the first annual NEA/Taos Big Read. She is currently the director of the Young Writers' Mentorship Program and has lived in Taos for the past 20 years.
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Not much to like. Dragged on a lot. Never felt anything for any of the characters.
Engaging characters and a good story pull you in and then you don't want to come back out. The story shows us Wrecker's life and the people that shape it at different points as he is growing up. We also get to see bits and pieces of him mother's life and how her life choices shaped him. A great read.
The main character, a little boy, did not even receive his name till around one year of age. He received the name, Wrecker, because he had a penchant for getting into things he shouldn't. After his father takes off and his mother is arrested, Wrecker is placed into the foster care system. He ends up with his uncle, Len, for a short while. Len has a wife he takes care of constantly, he decides he cannot take care of Wrecker. The residents of Bow Farm, up the road from Len, decide to take in Wrecker until he is returned to the foster care system. Wrecker stays with these people till he is 20, his character and personality develop and are shaped lovingly by these residents. This novel is impressive in that the author manages to create such odd circumstances and make them appear perfectly believable. Wrecker could have been an angry child who turned into an even angrier man, however, because of the residents of Bow Farm, Wrecker now has infinite potential as a person. A very heart-warming story, this is recommended for young adults/adults.
Wrecker is the story of a young boy who is raised by friends who live communally on a farm in California. He arrives at Bow Farm after his mother is sent to jail and the state sends Wrecker to the care of his mentally-impaired aunt and her husband. Three-year old Wrecker is more than his uncle Len can handle while caring for his disabled wife, so Wrecker is cast to the women living on the farm next door. The story had great potential, but, the characters did not feel fully developed. Moreover, all of the adults in the story were highly tainted by their own selfishness and self-centeredness. Providing for Wrecker's needs never seemed about the benefit of the child; instead, each adult seemed to respond to him out of need to fill a void in himself.
wrecker, the main character, at 3 yrs old is sent to live with his uncle after his mother has been sent to jail. the story follows wrecker thru 15 yrs. during that time, his uncle adopts him but the ladies of BowFarm take wrecker in and he develops relationships with each person at the farm, and each person helps wrecker develop in diffrent ways to become a smart, mature, self sufficient young man. takes a village to raise a child, is so true in this story. each character lends something interesting to the story. never a slow moment. excellent book for a book club or discussion group.
This was a good quick read.
Enjoyed this book. The only change i would make - what happened to arvyn.