When the Finch Rises

When the Finch Rises

by Jack Riggs
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When the Finch Rises 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a fan of coming of age novels, this was one of my all time favorite. Riggs does an excellent job of making you feel like you are in North Carolina with the characters living right along with them. If you like classics like To Kill A Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye, you will surely love this book as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Few authors can capture the world through the eyes of a child without being overly simplistic, but Jack Riggs has hit the nail on the head on his first try. WHEN THE FINCH RISES (Ballantine, hd. 23.95), recalling novels like To Kill A Mockingbird and My Dog Skip, is told with honesty and insight, showing Southern life as a child would see it in the 1960s ¿ a swirling world of racial and political tension that birthed an entirely new nation. Two young boys, Raybert and Palmer, are caught up in the whirlwind of everyday rural life around the floodplain of the Finch River, a place as volatile as their lives at home. Raybert is forced to cope with his father¿s dark past and bleak future, his mother¿s episodes of ¿chasing her tail¿ that can be induced by the mere mention of Bobby Kennedy, and his own bumpy road to adolescence. Palmer faces a life without a real father and a mother who curses the day he was born. The two boys hatch a scheme to escape with only their imaginations and heroes like Evel Kneivel to guide them. Riggs beautifully captures these young boys¿ lives as the tight-rope act from which a fall is not only threatening, but expected. (NC)
Guest More than 1 year ago
When The Finch Rises is Jack Riggs¿ grafting of Harper Lee and William Kennedy on to a modern Southern story which is at once both entertaining and painful. The novel is the tale of two young boys, Raybert and Palmer, told by Raybert as he watches his family dissolve. His mother is slowly succumbing to a mental illness which causes her to find conspiracy and deceit in nearly every person except her son and his angelic friend Palmer. Raybert¿s father does not understand her illness and cannot help her, and he deals with the illness by running away, often for days at a time, returning to his family bloody and beaten from fighting behind bars and in alleys. Raybert¿s witness to the slow demise of his parent¿s place in his life is the heart of the novel. He must watch as the foundations of his childhood fall away more and more quickly as his mother¿s illness progresses and his father¿s inability to hold his family together moves beyond his father¿s desire to even try. It is this dissolution of the family that provides the reader with not only a shared pain for Raybert but a sympathy and affection for the boy as well. The loss of Raybert¿s childhood is impeded at times, though, by brief moments of wonder and the excitement and enthusiasm of boyhood. Raybert spends much of the novel cruising his neighborhood on his bicycling while considering the bravery of daredevil star Evel Knievel. He wants a G.I. Joe action figure for his birthday and discusses the toy¿s useful qualities with his mother in the hope she will buy him one. His father gives him a pellet gun and Raybert learns the painful lessons many young boys learn when they are given the power of life and death over small animals. Finally, Palmer provides Raybert with the kind of adventures and friendships only the young can devise and exploit into lifelong memories. When The Finch Rises is an examination of the sometimes painful nature of life, tempered by moments of classic American pop culture and the icons that culture has produced as highway markers through our recent history. Raybert¿s story is as painful as watching a mother¿s love dissolve to near invisibility and it is as joyous as memories of swimming as a child on a perfect summer day. Riggs¿ story-telling ability reminds us that there is a balance to be found between the great events of the day and the day-to-day events which are the real moments of life. The novel is certainly not without its flaws, but putting those small failures into the context of the work only heightens what Riggs seems to be saying to his readers: we must look around the corners of our flaws to find what wonders are next. Bishop Hadley