Monday, March 15, 2004

Don Robertson

I'm not much on writing fan letters to authors, but I should be. I appreciate what they do. It's really more than appreciate; their words feel like my life's blood.

If I were to write to an author, I'd like to write to Stephen King. I enjoy much of his fiction. Even more, I feel as if he's talking to his readers about
books when he recommends a book via a column like the one in ENERTAINMENT WEEKLY, or even when one of his characters reads a book. I've had a warm glow in my heart for Mr. King ever since he dedicated FIRESTARTER to "Shirley Jackson, who never had to raise her voice."

The glow was intensified last week while I was at the library
hunting up an author I read back in middle school and enjoyed very much: Don Robertson. He wrote a trilogy of books about a character named Morris Bird III, who grew up during the 40's and 50's. The first one is THE GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD, in which Morris Bird III is 9 years old. THE SUM AND TOTAL OF NOW portrays Morris Bird III (Robertson always refers to the character by his full name!) in adolesence, about 13 or 14. THE GREATEST THING THAT ALMOST HAPPENED has Morris as a senior in high school facing a serious challenge.

I couldn't find any of these
books (grrrr!) on the shelf, nor are they anywhere in the system, which includes several libraries (double grrr!). I did find a later Robertson novel called PRISONERS OF TWILIGHT, which takes place during the last days of the Civil War. I promptly snatched it up as a consolation prize. I turned to the back flap and there was an endorsement for Robertson's fiction by Stephen King. King praised Robertson, writing that Robertson is the latest in a long line of American storytellers "who wrote naturalistic fiction...that line descends from Mark Twain to Stephen Crane to Frank Norris...He has written as brilliantly as any of these men."


I also noticed, reading Robertson's biography that he's from Cleveland. (The Morris
Bird III books take place there.) Double Zowie! I'm in love with Cleveland right now because of Harvey (AMERICAN SPLENDOR) Pekar.

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