Friday, September 4, 2009

Book Review -- "Southern Fried Reunion" by John Alan Perry

Disclaimer: This post was originally written in June... I just finished it and pushed publish...


John Alan Perry is a local author that lives here in Greenville, NC. A few years ago, he won a contest to have a serial novel published in The Daily Reflector. The title was "Southern Fried Reunion." What really caught my attention is that the story was set locally, and I actually know John. He works with my mom, and I've worked with him several times when I've subbed. I started reading when it was in the paper... but for some reason couldn't keep up. I always thought that it would be a good read as a novel. So... I was very interested when I heard that it had been published.

I quickly ordered my copy from Amazon, and I started reading it as soon as it had arrived. Having known some of the background from reading parts of the serial novel, I knew that it was about a man from a small town who had moved to NYC, and was coming home for a family reunion.

This is the product description from Amazon
Best-selling author John Alan Perry answers a call from his mother to attend a family reunion back home in North Carolina. After living in New York for a while, the author can’t fathom going down South for anything—let alone a redneck-infested reunion. But reluctantly, he goes against his better judgment and drives home for the weekend. The reunion begins as most do—with childhood stories being retold and old friendships being rekindled. Slowly, painstakingly, the author lowers his guard. An eccentric cast of characters fills his afternoon—Danny, the goofball, beer-swilling, snake-killing third cousin; Magdalena, the long-lost kissing cousin who now owns the puking baby; and Eleven, a drop-dead gorgeous aspiring actress who knows a secret John Alan doesn’t. However, what begins as a comical stroll down memory lane ends in a nightmarish realization that will alter John Alan’s life forever.

I have never read a book so quickly. Seriously, I was done with the book in a matter of hours. I couldn't put it down. To me, the best writers use words that paint a picture in your mind, and Perry definitely did this. The book was very relateable. Having grown up in a big family in a small town, I could imagine feeling the same way if I had been away for awhile.

One of the things that kept repeating through the book is "What's done is done." How true! Its done, its over... you can't change it... just have to deal with it and keep going. The book also proves that although it may be painful, and you might have to deal with some ghosts, you can go home again.

I also had the chance to attend a book discussion and signing that John had at Barnes and Noble. It was really interesting to hear from an author about the thought process that goes into writing a novel. The Q&A time was interesting, and gave me more insight into the characters and the story line. B&N said that this was one of the best selling books from a local author that they have had. They ran out of copies in the store that night. And, I have a signed copy now, so thats awesome!

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good, quick read. It was perfect for summer since reunions are all too common down South. While you're at it, check out his first book "The Hero of Hampton Hills." It is on my list to read!



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