Booking Around the States: Ohio
Morris Bird III is nine years old in 1944 living in Cleveland, Ohio. He decides to skip school and walk across town to visit his friend who moved. What an adventure Morris Bird III has. It turns out that the same day he decided to walk across town, Cleveland had a huge natural gas explosion. The gas explosion was real but Morris Bird III was not.
In order to be brave, you have to be brave all the way. You have to understand that you must take the consequences for an Unexcused Absence.
It's a story about bravery and doing your best, and being determined. One of the reasons Morris Bird III makes his trek is to make allowances for his past misdeeds. One of these was imagining that he had a speedometer in his stomach that turned every year on his birthday. Also, he has a little sister.
There they went every morning, and oh my wasn't it ever sweet, dear little Morris Bird III leading his dear little snot of a sister by her dear little hand as they went, tra la la, hippity hop, off to school.
Oh what a picture. Ugh.Ah, the world was gray and bleak, and no one suffered the way Morris Bird III suffered.
Hand in hand.
Hand in hand.
Stephen King described Robertson as one of the three writers who influenced him as a young man who was trying to "become" a novelist. (wikipedia) I can definitely see the influence. The repetition of words, the sounds, the run-on descriptions, and the overall great writing are all here and I could easily have believed that King might have written this. It's the folksy style but packed with a punch, and the repetition. Other people in Cleveland were affected by the explosion (over 200 were killed) and their stories are told as well, rather urgently in very long paragraphs, jumping from one person to another. It was a little confusing, but it all came together in the end.
Morris Bird III is a character that makes quite an impression. As the first sentence in the book states: The legless man was wise enough to understand that heroes can be found in the damnedest places. Which was why he didn't hesitate when he called the boy the greatest thing since sliced bread.