Swim a Crooked Line
Swim A Crooked Line is a novel that tries to show how modern life affects the traditional Midwestern culture of Nebraska, told through the history and eyes of a generational farming family and the newer transplants, including a Mexican-American football star from a Los Angeles slum attending the local college. The novel deals with much of the change impacting the Midwest and smaller communities, from big box retailers driving smaller local businesses out, drug and alcohol addiction, the Afghanistan war, GMOs, and factory farming.
It’s a broad scope of topics, and they’re woven within a story line that focuses on three main characters: Chad and Dee D, children of farmer John and Barbara Jenkins, and Richardo Ramirez, the aforementioned Hispanic-American (Brazilian/Mexican). Chad is off to army life and a tour in Afghanistan, while Dee is going to university on a scholorship. Both are in for major culture shock — Chad with racial issues in basic training, bad combat missions, and PRSD, Dee with a roommate who doesn’t consider WWJD when having sex.
Swim a Crooked Line is a journeyman’s effort tackling multiple important subjects and tying them into one story. Moving from one person’s story to the next, the novel flows along, dipping in and out of each life. The problems it has are in experience and style; for example, all of the Spanish-speaking characters sprinkle Spanish words in almost every sentence, regardless of to whom they are speaking or about, creating stereotyped cutouts to emphases their ethnicity over their personality. Griz does his best with the main characters and the setting of Nebraska and does bring up important issues facing the residents of the Midwest, who are seeing their traditional lifestyle changing before their eyes. His apparent love of football shines through as well; some of the strongest writing is the descriptions of the games and players.
|Cray Cray Bird Publications
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