Thursday, August 20, 2015

On Blades of Blue Grass by Neil Harrod (Book Review #64 of 2015)


On Blades of Blue Grass: Stories of Nicholasville, Kentucky
This is a two-star book partly due to the many grammatical errors and typos. The author is an aspiring writer in need of a proofreader. I noticed it was offered free for Kindle and took the chance to support a local author.

I grew up in Lexington, of which Nicholasville has basically become a suburb. There was greater distance between the two when the author (just a few years older than me) was growing up in the 1980s. This book is the author's recollection of childhood memories, telling mostly unconnected stories. Most of it is mundane, and the early memories are likely embellished. I do not believe someone called him a "snake-handling cracker" when he was five years old. He grew up in a dysfunctional home witnessing domestic violence and always tempted to run away. Much of the book is a tribute to the friends and families who loved him through that time.

The final chapter is actually a good essay, recollecting the author's near-death experience with a train on High Bridge and its consequences for his life. Like me, the author has returned to central Kentucky after a long absence, although he draws a different conclusion from that outcome than I do, personally. This is a beautiful paragraph:

"I never came back– to either High Bridge or my homeland and though I would move somewhere and then come back for a while; I was never really back when I was home. It was like, that night on the bridge, instead of walking to my car after the train passed by; I actually jumped on board and went with it...It was that bitterness that allowed my mind to believe there was some place better than Nicholasville and that there were people better than the ones in Nicholasville, and that if I just kept running away from home, then I would find a home elsewhere...I am who I am today because of the fact that I grew up in Nicholasville, Kentucky. For I was born a simple Kentucky boy who had a heart full of love and mind filled with optimistic invention and by the simple act of forgiveness I became that boy once more.""

If you grew up in Jessamine Co., then you might know the names and places in the book. Otherwise, pass.

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