BOOK REVIEW: Thompson Road by Scott Wyatt

thompson_roadReview of: Thompson Road by Scott Wyatt

Genre: Historical

This book was sent to me for review by the author, but all opinions expressed are my own.  Check out his website at www.scottwyattauthor.com

Thompson Road is an illustration of growing up, and how life sometimes changes even your wildest dreams for yourself.  Raleigh Starr is a football star in his high-school days prior to WWII.  Spurned by the Sally Springs–a popular and talented dancer in his class–he is determined to do anything he can to win her over.  When he accidentally sees Mona Garrison dancing one night, he is captivated and instantly sees her skill as a way to make Sally sit up and take notice of him.  There’s just one problem though–even though Mona is 15, she has been labeled “slow”.  He doesn’t want to be seen as taking advantage over a handicapped child, but the more he gets to know Mona, the more certain he is that whatever else she may be she is not retarded. When he persuades Mona to practice swing dancing with him and they enter a state fair competition together, it sets the town and their families into an uproar.  Sally can’t help but notice him, but when the competition is over and done though, he finds himself empty and disappointed in himself.  Years and a war pass before Raleigh realizes that he has loved Mona since the first time he saw her.

Whatever else you do, do not write this book off as just another teenage romance.  I was expecting it to be something of a teen romance, and that didn’t bother me because it was historical and looked good, but it was so much deeper and impressive than any “teen” book I’ve ever found.

Thompson Road is more than a story about high school.  It encompasses decades and it is a story about how choices follow one through life.  Bittersweet and touching, Thompson Road illuminates a little-known aspect of social history, while thoroughly tangling up your heartstrings.

I, for one, had no idea how poorly people with dyslexia were looked upon as recently as the 1940s.  Dyslexia has only recently begun to be treated as merely requiring different methods of learning.  Early in the 1900s, people who may have been dyslexic were simply labeled slow or retarded, and shipped off to whatever mental health asylums were available.  Mona’s story in Thompson Road is horrifying, just because of that, though there is resolution in the end.

Overall, Thompson Road very successfully accomplished the two main things that I judge all historical fiction by.  Firstly, the story itself was well-written, gripping, and believable.  Secondly, it called to attention a specific and previously unknown-to-me aspect of history.

I highly recommend this book, particularly if you have any special love of historical fiction, or the bizarre social issues of years gone by.

I loved this book: 5 out of 5 stars