Chandler Alexander's The Makings of a Fatherless Child is a dark and riveting tale of a young boy, Amel River, growing of age in the Mississippi Delta all while trying to survive a broken home, poverty, fatherlessness, and a voice in his head that won't go away.
With the wisdom of a drunken stranger King Lee, the unspoken love of his best friend Sea’Sea, and the innocent eyes of his two-year-old nephew Javion, Amel embarks on an unknown journey of truth, understanding, and forgiveness, hoping that his journey will lead him to experience his ultimate definition of freedom, a life worth living.
|File size:||348 KB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Chandler Alexander is a writer at Kanue & Foster and a realistic fiction novelist that lives in Birmingham, Alabama. www.chandleralexander.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.5 stars If you are prepared to take a giant leap out of your comfort zone and into what claims to be realistic fiction, be prepared to feel both uncomfortable, a little heartsick and even angry. Amel River tells his story of growing up on the “wrong” side of the tracks, where father figures were few and far between, mother figures were often cold and indifferent and children grew up fending the best way they could, minus one driving force, the determination to succeed, to grow and bring change in a world claimed to care, but went home every night to a warm bad, warm meal and a more typical, encouraging family unit. The Makings of a Fatherless Child by Chandler Alexander is told through the voice and eyes of young Amel, a boy left rudderless, trying to care for child and give him everything he never had, including encouragement and positivity. If not for an unusual and charismatic old man, who took Amel in and fed him sage, if not sometimes cryptic wisdom, Amel would not have learned the truth of his own paternal abandonment and the reasons why so many fathers leave. Experience the life Amel had, his method of protecting what he cared about and the rough laws of the streets where there is no hope, no order or feeling of community. From the extremely crass and belittling language used to the bullying and threats, to the physical altercations, no one should grow up thinking this is life and the world is like this. Chandler Alexander weaves a coarse cloth of life in a poor town, those with a sense of pride, those without and those who have learned late in life they have much to atone for. If this tale doesn’t make one stop and think hard about those around us, nothing will and if you don’t feel the need to tell your family you love them in a way that conveys that emotion with a true depth of feeling through actions, I will be amazed. Get past the realistic dialogue, the rampant derogatory terms, lack of self-respect or respect for others and feel the pain of a community that is floundering and can only be saved one person at a time. Be part of Amel’s coming of age and the opening of his eyes to the many truths around him as he decides what he will do with that knowledge. There is more truth than fiction here and it will knock the wind out of your sails with its raw content. I received this copy from Chandler Alexander in exchange for my honest review.
I received an electronic ARC of this work from Netgalley and Chandler Alexander in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, folks, for sharing your work with me. Despite the language - or perhaps because of it - this is an exceptional novel. Money, Baby Sister, King Lee and Javion are so central to the heart and soul of Shake that even their loss frames his thoughts and colors his days. I hate the way it ended, but I do understand it. Sadly, a big part of the world we live in functions as a result of this sort of negativity and pain.
Some say that we make our own destiny; that it doesn’t matter where or what you came from, all the matters is what you bring to the metaphorical table. Through Amel, Chandler Alexander shows that that is not necessarily the case for everybody. Amel River is a boy born into the wrong part of town and the wrong family. Before he is even out of high school, he suffers unimaginable abuse from his family, friends and, most tragically, himself. Amel is a truly disturbed boy and, the more you read on, the clearer it becomes that unspeakable demons follow him. Nevertheless, through hardships and horrors, we find unstained good inside Amel and the hardened people around him. The narrative flows smoothly, although reading the story feels long, tedious and obligatory at times. We get to know why characters are the way they are and the abuse they’ve suffered, but only Amel retains a truly personal relationship with these people. Their stories are splashed out onto the canvas of the book but, because of narrative elements, they are kept at an arm’s length from the readers. Also, while a constant barrage of trouble and misfortune plague Amel, the story cannot keep a solid hold on any one conflict. A roulette wheel of issues spin conflicts in and out of focus, and while arcs are followed through from start to finish, this unending inconsistency takes away from the immediacy of the novel. The Makings of a Fatherless Child, while at times a difficult read, is worth the time you’ll put in. Some of its gems are close to the surface, while others are buried underneath a few layers of grime. Nevertheless, it is a story that will not soon leave you.
The title of the book didn’t sound interesting to me. However, when I read the book I found it to be an emotional and touching tale. The story of the book is set in a small Mississippi delta town. The only two novels I have previously read that were set in the state of Mississippi were The Help by Katherine Stockett and The Chamber by John Grisham. As indicated by the title of the book, the protagonist and the narrator, Amel River, is a fatherless kid born in Bear Ridge. It's not uncommon to be a fatherless child in this part of the world since most of the children here are born fatherless. Here, the story of one household is no different from the story of another household. The lives of the children are tainted with poverty, violence, emotional and drug abuse, and parental neglect. There’s no doubt that their future kids will also experience the same struggles, and the cycle will go on and on. 13-year-old Amel lives with his mentally unstable mother, 15-year-old sister called Melo and his little nephew. Both Amel and Melo have different fathers who are absent from their lives. The lack of love from his own father hurts him deeply. He often wonders, if only he was born in other place, in different circumstances, he could have a normal family and a normal life just like they saw on TV. What did he do to deserve a life like this? Was he one of the less fortunate creations of God? Amel dreams of a life beyond Bear Ridge. He wants to escape the small voice in his head that he has been struggling with. And most importantly, he wants to become a father better than his own father. But it’s nothing but wishful thinking, especially for a kid from Bear Ridge. One day when Amel leaves his home following a fight with his mother and has nowhere to go, he comes across an old light blue shotgun house and meets King Lee. Little does he know that the old and drunken King Lee might have all the answers he’s searching for. From this point in Amel’s life, a new journey begins. The positive side of this book is that it’s a true story. This story is too real to handle. So, don't expect a "happily ever after" or fairy tale sort of ending. Personally, I was satisfied with the ending. I wasn't quite familiar with the local Mississippi Delta dialect. However, as I continued reading the book, I got used to the words and the grammar. I do think though that the author could have been a bit creative with the book title.
"The Makings of a Fatherless Child," is a tale filled with emotion and thought provoking moments. The author expertly created complex yet relatable characters. There were no predictable moments. Chandler Alexander fills the story with realistic twists and turn that make readers eager for what will happen next. While I may not have had the same experiences as Amel does, I could feel the emotions coming off the pages. I am struggling to find the appropriate words to describe this book, and there are none. The author gas an engaging style and has a the ability to make magic with his words to completely spellbind his readers. I would highly recommend this book and feel it is a must read.