“I really had doubts about this book”

Review of Brambleman

February 27, 2014
by Paul Westerman
(on Brambleman‘s Amazon Page)

“I really had doubts about this book …”

Unexpected is the best word I can use to describe this book. All of the time I was reading it I expected something to appear that would make me dislike it, but it just kept getting better. Seldom do I rank a book with 5* because most books could have been better in some aspect such as plot, characterization, etc. This book is as good as it gets for what it is. I don’t think it is a book that everyone will enjoy as much as I did, but I recommend that any avid reader at least try it.

* * *

That’s the latest review of Brambleman (that I know of). Of course, I’ve been promoting the book lately and have moved nearly 2,500 copies in the last week or so, so I expect we’ll see more. I’m always grateful and usually appreciative of good reviews, but like everyone else, I do get some bad ones.  One of these days I’ll tell you how I managed to get the only one-star review on Amazon I’ve gotten (so far). Let’s just say I earned it and I’m proud of it–my red badge of outrage.

Anyway,  this latest review points out Brambleman probably isn’t for everyone, and I will cheerfully concede that point. It is a bit epic in length (it covers a hundred years) and deals with some tough issues along with a large measure of basic human horribleness, but in the end … well, you’ll have to read it to the end to see.   It has touches of humor and horror, which I think says more than calling it funny and say. It is also a rather weird story, and defies genre classifications. It isn’t a historical novel, since it is set in contemporary Atlanta. but it does have a large does of history in it. . It isn’t a paranormal or fantasy novel, although it does have a measure of the supernatural, or what some people might call “magical realism.”  I wouldn’t call it a Southern novle, since the main character is a border-state Yankee. Named Sherman.

Perhaps you could call it a literary novel, but that seems to me like the kiss of death. One particularly astute viewer described it as “Neil Gaiman meets Flannery O’Connor.”  That’s pretty close to the way I pitched it originally: “Imagine Joseph Heller and Neil Gaiman collaborating to write To Kill a Mockingbird.”

For the story’s historical background, click here. To see my short answer to the question, Why did you write Brambleman? click here.

I would point out that Brambleman won the IBPA’s gold Benjamin Franklin Award for popular fiction, and popular always seems like a good thing to be for a book … and its writer.


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