3/13/15 Book Review, Come Sit with Me, by George Spain
As the title, along with its subtitle, Come Sit with Me…and listen to the stories I want you to hear… suggests, this is a book for casual reading. Author George Spain’s voice echoes through the words as if a favorite uncle is telling tales of what once was and can never be again, stories you know to be true, some you know to be exaggerations, and some that you know came from the far reaches of his mind.
The book is a mix of stories and poems and is neatly divided into sections that allow a reader to choose content that fits his or her mood of the moment. This is not book that requires reading from beginning to end, but you will find yourself wanting to hungrily devour all the stories.
Mr. Spain opens with the light and jovial “Kids of Summer” which yields four stories of five boys ages 10 to 12 and the adventures they encounter. They find a home for a wayward pony while learning a lesson about judging people; become daredevils riding wagons through flames; explore the adult world of downtown Nashville; and taste tobacco and alcohol for the first time.
His next section is of a more serious nature, taking on a character study of people in East Tennessee during the tumultuous post-Civil War era. A state that was as divided in sympathies as was the nation; the stories bring out superstition, hatred, and a thirst for revenge. The section concludes with poems that suit the themes of the stories.
The remainder of the book is a potpourri of work with the likes of “The Devil is a Gentlemen,” a poem with a contemporary look at society. Then we learn of a domesticated turkey buzzard, and a fabulist’s account of a giant’s interactions with animals in the wilderness.
Readers may find the “Journal of George Edward Spain” of particular interest for the author’s account from 1963 to 1986 of a new and unusual life his family found when they moved from the heart of the city of Nashville to the remote rural setting of Leipers Fork, Tennessee, where bootleggers and moonshiners still roamed the nearby woods.
George Spain has put together an unusual book, one filled with stories and poems that the reader will want to revisit again and again.