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Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cotton

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Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cotton

Post Number:#1 by bookowlie
» 29 Mar 2015, 10:26

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Boys of Summers Run" by James L. Cotton.]

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3 out of 4 stars
Review by bookowlie
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The Boys of Summers Run by James Cotton is a coming-of-age novel with a Little League Baseball theme. After his father is killed in the Gulf War, 12-year-old Claude Kinkade goes with his mother to live on his paternal family’s farm in rural Pennsylvania. Shadeland is a historical farm in the Summers Run community that has been in his father’s family for generations. It’s a magical place for Claude, who finds comfort and stability there among his father’s relatives. He quickly becomes close with his father’s cousin Nathe (note: Nathe is not a typo and is a nickname for Nathean), who returns to Summers Run after an acting career. The two bond even further when Nathe coaches Claude’s Little League team. Claude looks up to Nathe as a father figure and mentor.

In the meantime, Claude’s mother moves to Las Vegas to start a singing career with the help of her wealthy boyfriend. She intends to bring Claude out there once she gets settled. Claude hopes he can stay in Summers Run indefinitely and even wishes his mother would fall in love with Nathe.

This book is a work of fiction, yet reads like a memoir. Claude tells his story as an adult looking back on his Little League team’s 1992-93 season. This isn’t a book you should race through, as you might with a thriller; you should savor every sentence. The writing is lovely and lyrical. I enjoyed reading the book as much for the author’s use of language as for the storyline itself. The story is quite engaging and Claude is a likeable main character. All of the characters are vividly written, particularly Claude’s friend Tim, who is deaf and an orphan.

The dialogue is easy to understand, even with the heavy use of rural Pennsylvania dialect. I usually find the use of a dialect distracting, although it was natural and flowing in this case. I felt like I knew these people well and became used to their manner of speaking. There is one glaring typo in the book that I must mention; in Chapter 45, the year 1963 should be 1993. I hesitated mentioning this error, as the book appears to be otherwise and refreshingly free of grammatical errors. Still, I thought the author could correct this error in subsequent editions.

One gripe I had with this book is the meandering plot. I am normally a fast reader, but this book took me an unusually long time to finish. Some readers may not mind this, as some of the side stories and passages are absolute gems. I just wish the plot could have been more cohesive. There are long sections about minor characters and the plot would veer off course for a bit.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I wish I could have given the book 3.5 stars. The story will tug at your heartstrings. This book would appeal to anyone who likes to read wholesome stories about country life and boys growing up. Actually, I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates good writing.

******
The Boys of Summers Run
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#2 by PashaRu
» 30 Mar 2015, 19:33

Great review! And this sounds like a good story. Thank you! I think I'm in the minority in that I actually prefer good writing over a good story.
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#3 by RussetDivinity
» 30 Mar 2015, 19:42

Fictional memoirs are a genre that fascinate me. I'll definitely have to take a look at this one!
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#4 by bookowlie
» 30 Mar 2015, 19:48

PashaRu wrote:Great review! And this sounds like a good story. Thank you! I think I'm in the minority in that I actually prefer good writing over a good story.


Thanks PashaRu! This book has both - excellent writing and a very good story.
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#5 by gali
» 31 Mar 2015, 11:04

PashaRu wrote:Great review! And this sounds like a good story. Thank you! I think I'm in the minority in that I actually prefer good writing over a good story.


I prefer both. 8)

-- March 31st, 2015, 7:05 pm --

Thank you for the lovely review. :)
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#6 by bookowlie
» 31 Mar 2015, 12:02

Thanks for the compliment. I loved the characters so much that I hope the author decides to write a sequel.
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#7 by Rabidwerewolfie
» 31 Mar 2015, 15:07

This sounds a little like A Painted House, which I immensely enjoyed. I may have to check this book out. Thank you for offering this review.
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#8 by bookowlie
» 31 Mar 2015, 17:34

Rabidwerewolfie - Good point about A Painted House. I just realized I own that book and haven't read it yet. I bought it at a library book sale last year.

By the way, cool name. 8)
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#9 by Duende Knocking
» 03 Apr 2015, 04:40

Sounds good! I generally like stories like this, though I am not much of a sports fan. However this looks like it's not particularly sports-scene-heavy, correct?

PashaRu wrote:Great review! And this sounds like a good story. Thank you! I think I'm in the minority in that I actually prefer good writing over a good story.


I am with you here. Good writing and good characters take precedence over a good plot or story for me. :roll:
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#10 by Stevefromtheblock
» 03 Apr 2015, 07:17

Good review! This seems like an interesting read.
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#11 by bookowlie
» 03 Apr 2015, 08:23

Duende Knocking wrote:Sounds good! I generally like stories like this, though I am not much of a sports fan. However this looks like it's not particularly sports-scene-heavy, correct?

PashaRu wrote:Great review! And this sounds like a good story. Thank you! I think I'm in the minority in that I actually prefer good writing over a good story.


I am with you here. Good writing and good characters take precedence over a good plot or story for me. :roll:


The book is not sports-heavy at all. Most of the book centers around Claude's relationships with his friends and father's extended family. Even the sports scenes are focused on the friendships and the coaches offering life lessons.

-- 03 Apr 2015, 09:24 --

Stevefromtheblock - Thanks for the compliment.
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#12 by Amheiser
» 04 Apr 2015, 23:47

Good review! The description of the story didn't make me want to add this book to my 'to read' list because my list is getting very long so I am getting picky about what goes on it. What did make me want to read this book is your description of the writing style. It must be written very well to make what seems like an average story into something good. I'm glad you pointed that out and I think I will add this book to my list.
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#13 by bookowlie
» 05 Apr 2015, 12:25

Thanks Amheiser! Actually, the storyline is also quite good, but the writing is superb.
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#14 by ALynnPowers
» 21 Apr 2015, 06:48

I was pretty much sold on this book after the first sentence. Coming of age and sports are two things I love to read about in books. I should probably go read the rest of the review and see if anything else sounds interesting 8)
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Re: Official Review: The Boys of Summers Run by James L. Cot

Post Number:#15 by bookowlie
» 21 Apr 2015, 09:26

Certainly, the excellent writing is something you would appreciate in any book. :)
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