Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Books I've Loved: I Will Call It Georgie's Blues
With the library I have easiest access to closed, my reading has been limited to books I've borrowed from friends, things on my shelves I may not have read yet, or wanted to re-read, and reading on my phone. So without anything new to read over the long weekend, I decided to re-visit some of my old favorite books to see if I still felt as passionately about them as I did when I first read them.
I Will Call It Georgie's Blues is a story about a family in crisis. Mr. Sloane is a Baptist minister in a small town and has very fixed ideas about the image he and his family need to maintain. But while outwardly the Sloane family might look picture perfect, behind closed doors each member of the family has their own problems, all stemming from Mr. Sloane's subtle tyranny.
Oldest daughter Aileen rebels by failing school and running around with the most inappropriate boyfriend she can find, flaunting her father's rules openly. Neal escapes his problems through music, keeping his passion and talent for jazz a secret from everyone. And youngest child, Georgie, creates a vivid fantasy world to explain why he feels so alone, even while surrounded by the people who are supposed to care most for him.
Told from Neal's point of view, the book covers a period of weeks in which Georgie's fantasy world overwhelms him and the family's secrets explode in a way that forces them all to reassess the way they behave to each other, and what they present to the world.
I really like this book because while it deals with an abusive father, he's not violent and the wounds he inflicts on his family are psychological, not physical. The characters and their reactions to him feel very real and the portrayal of small-town life where everyone is under scrutiny all the time also rings true.
But don't just take my word for it. Here's the blurb:
Reverend Mr. Sloan is a time bomb waiting to go off. Behind his kindly public persona is an intolerant, demanding parent who terrorizes his children. Neal escapes his father in the world of music, but his frail brother Georgie is headed for a breakdown that almost no one will realize.