3 out of 4 stars
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Boyce Phillips consistently evades responsibilities by looking to spend time pleasantly. He lacks the ability to set goals and then try to achieve them. He enters the United States Army during World War II. At the same time, Dodie Fehlins is from Chattanooga, Tennessee, she is dissatisfied and dreams of knowing a better world than hers. The two meet at the University of Oklahoma when Boyce returns home at the end of the war, and Dodie decides to leave Tennessee to become independent from her parents. Both begin a romance that ends in marriage. They have two children, Paul and Tommy. Afterward, they decide to move to the town of Howell. Boyce finds a job in a restaurant as a property manager, inside of which there is a kind of secret club called "Men's Room". In this place, several men from the town get together to play and waste time hiding from their families. Boyce joins this group of men. When things get harsh and luck stops accompanying the Phillips, a gigantic family crisis erupts.
Some people live without a purpose in life, so when they become adults, they feel the need for new experiences, to know other worlds different from their own. Sometimes they make decisions and choose paths that will define their remaining lives. Over time, if they do not find their objective, they end up feeling a deep and growing hole within them, which they cannot fill with the life they have. These aspects are explored in Filling Up a Hole by Jerry A. Greenberg. This fictional drama novel presents the story of some unclear people about what they want to do and be, and that makes them feel unfulfilled.
Although Boyce and Dodie are the protagonists, their sons and Clarence Dawson also have relevant roles. Dawson is a successful black writer who conceals his identity for fear of rejection. In general, all the characters are well developed and easily identifiable in all their characteristics. The author carries out excellent psychological portrayals of the main characters which justify their attitudes through the plotline.
The story is recounted in the third-person perspective. It has not a sequential development since it jumps back and forth, which makes the reader curious about how some events occurred or what will happen next. The writing style is outstanding as the descriptions are concise and direct. Predominantly, the dialogues are realistically constructed.
The narrative focuses on the strange situation Boyce has suffered, but the main plot is the relationship between him and Dodie. Also, there are other secondary plots that kept me tuned in such as the mystery of the Men's Room Club, the odd writer Clarence Dawson, and the future of the Phillips brothers. Later, the story has some brief passages that refer to the struggles that people of that time faced, in particular, the black man's civil rights and feminine equality.
This book entertained me throughout the reading. The principal theme about the holes people can feel when they are unsatisfied is important and realistic. Some might feel identified with this issue. I think this novel is a wake-up call for those who enjoy life passively without reflecting on what they want to be and what goals they desire to achieve.
The edition presented many details to mention, most of which were misspelled words, and I think a considerable number of them justify discounting a star. For all the above, I rate Filling Up a Hole with 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend this fascinating book to those looking for a reading that can inspire them to seek their purpose in life. Plus, it appeals to lovers of dramatic novels set in times past.
Filling Up a Hole
Filling Up a Hole
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