|Publisher:||Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Even though he died of drinking, I never saw him touch a drop outside a bar. It's the truth. Only on Sundays, when county law prevented him for selling beer out of his place, he'd spend the day sober rather than than drink at home. Of course, more Sndays than not, he'd take of for Tulsa and hop the bars there. Sometimes, when I was just a boy, he'd take me along...
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Growing up in rural Oklahoma hasn't been easy for your Charlie Hope. Daily life runs toward the mundane, listening to his mother Ida's tales of his father Garl Hope or spending time at his secret spot by the lake. His only real means of escape comes from Chick, his heavy-drinking grandfather, who totes him all over the Tulsa area, making appearances at all the dive bars and saloons. After one such trip, Ida and Chick have quite a rout about everything from taking such a young boy out drinking to the truth about Garl, not realizing that young Charlie's listening to every word. When he realizes all is not quite at it seems about his long-dead father, a wedge works its way between Charlie and Ida, and he soon begins to question his past and what a future in Pryor holds for him. But that's nothing compared to his chance meeting with Dewar, one of the orphan boys from the Strang House. Soon, they begin spending more time together, and Charlie discovers that he's not the same as everyone else in town. This understanding shakes up not only his life, but the lives of those around him in unexpected ways."Pryor Rendering" is populated with interesting characters: young Charlie Hope struggling not only with the realization that his father wasn't the fine man his mother painted him to be, but also with his burgeoning attraction to his fellow schoolboy Dewar; Dewar, who's trying to survive the Strang Home and school until he graduates and can skip out of town; Owen the Turtle Man, a hermit who offers a surprisingly simple and reasonable view on life and relationships; and a host of others, all of whom give Charlie insight into the world around him. They all come across as real people rather than two-dimensional words on a page, making it very easy to get caught up in their stories.I also liked that the novel spins a very positive outlook on coming out. Charlie notices how different he feels and acts from the other boys around him, but rather than let that drag him down, he grabs onto it, realizing it maybe a way for him to escape the mundane life in Pryor. Sure, Charlie's mother Ida is a little disappointed when he tells her, but the other characters see it as a natural part of growing up. In fact, Charlie finds people who are accepting of him just as he is, giving him the confidence to remain true to himself -- even if it means having to let go of the one thing you love.I had never heard of this novel until I checked through Publishing Triangle's 100 Best Gay and Lesbian Novels. Though, it's not on the publisher's list but rather on the list chosen by readers. Which surprises me as it presents a well-crafted tale of a boy struggling with his sexual identity while maneuvering through the daily drama of his family life. It's is definitely worth reading.
The poetic title, Pryor Rendering, sounds promising, even when one discovers that Pryor Rendering itself is something less than poetic. Set in the small town of Pryor, Oklahoma, our young protagonist, Charlie Hope, tells his story from the age of seven into his late teens. He never knew his father and has been raised by his overly religious mother and bar owning frequently drunk grandfather. Charlie¿s life is far from the normal upbringing, and to add to his confusion he senses he is different from most boys. In the absence of real friends he has a friend of his imagination, that is until he gets to know fellow schoolboy Dewar, a year older, from the local boys¿ orphanage. The two become best friends with Dewar spending every weekend with Charlie, feeling more at home there than perhaps Charlie ever did. Pryor Rendering is a charming and delightful story beautifully told. The close and intimate friendship the two boys enjoy is heart-warming, all the more so for Charlie¿s love for Dewar recognises that it will also mean letting him go at the appropriate time. The relatively few characters we meet are vividly portrayed, and with the odd exception, thoroughly likeable. But what makes this an exceptional book is the quality and beauty of the writing. The characters are real, the sense of place compelling, our young hero Charlie endears from the start; and the story itself heart-warmingly wonderful.