November 25, 2013
Cow Across America by Dale Neal
Dwight is named after someone special. Or at least that's what his grandfather tells him. While growing up and experiencing the usual growing pains, Dwight has a love hate relationship with his grandfather. Hate because of the usual embarrassment of being around adults, and love because his grandfather is a holder of tales. And the biggest tale is how he and a boy named Dwight walked across America with a cow.
Dwight is kind of a spoiled little boy. He has a particular disdain for everyone, and having never been a little boy myself, I can't say whether or not that was accurate, but he probably could have used a bit more discipline than his parents gave him. He does have remorse though and tries to make up for some his brattier behaviors. His grandfather is the typical forgiving sort of man who cares for his grandchild. He's willing to overlook the attitude and share his life with the boy, and be proud of his achievements. The grandmother, mother, and father are all kind of side characters. We see them through Dwight's eyes and he isn't very forgiving at times.
This is a tall tale. Sort of. The grandfather tells a tall tale and it's often hard to tell what's the truth and what isn't. There are certainly elements of truth to his story, but for all we know, he made the entire thing up to amuse Dwight. And interspersed throughout is Dwight's story of growing up. He progresses from childhood to an adult and has his own personal experiences. Although I enjoy the grandfather's story more than Dwight's. Dwight had a way of leaving things unfinished and it made you feel like you weren't getting the whole story at times. Especially when he was sixteen and staying with his father. I felt like there should have been more to that part of the story.
This was an interesting book. I think it will definitely appeal more to people who like coming of age stories, but it's well written and may have a broader appeal as just standard fiction.
Cow Across America