|Reviews, Editorials, Press Releases, & Personals
The following reviews are for Yocona Puff Adder. I would greatly appreciate any reviews about Camp Re-Form. Thank you, Gerald Inmon
ForeWord Magazine Book Review:
As the chapters progress, the text gets progressively more sophisticated in its language. A reader unfamiliar with southern dialect writing in the style of Mark Twain will likely get frustrated with the book's earlier passages. But if the reader sticks with it, the book and the characters' lives take root and grow, and the results lead to some wondrerful revelations about the south and the lives of its people.
Writer's Digest Commentary:
Blends interesting characters and brisk dialogue with an intriguing premise. Imaginative and complex storyline, jam-packed with anecdotes that thoroughly entertain readers. Twainesque storyteller whose natural sounding dialogue leaps off the page. The voice of the character is very strong. The Southern accent is built into the language so that simply by reading the sentences you can hear the way the character speaks. The setting is also strong and clearly defined. I cared about this friendship between a white and black boy in the segregated South. The friendship makes the main character, Scott, realize how often his idea of the norm in U.S. society is really about white privilege. For example, Scott never thinks about whites-only establishments until he wants the two of them to buy a soda from a store and realizes that C.B. can't go in. By creating empathy in Scott for C.B.'s situation, the writer is effectively illustrating race differences for the reader.
Midwest Book Review - 5 stars:
A kind of "coming of age" novel with distinctly autobiographical elements by Gerald Inmon, Yocona Puff Adder is the story of Scott and Charlie, two seven-year-old children growing up in the American south and leading horrific, heroic, disdainful, persistent, and thoroughly active lives. A professional forester and wildlife biologist, Inmon has a debut novel that tangibly benefits from the inclusion of environmental detail. Indeed, each of the 52 chapters could successfully stand alone as brilliantly presented short stories as the boys meet fictionalized versions of a series of memorable characters ranging from civil rights activist James Meridith to Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner. Introducing Gerald Inmon as a truly gifted regional writer, Yocona Puff Adder is entertaining, original, and articulate as he uses a fictional format to address issues of racism, war, and the environment.
About Books, Inc.
Story time for grownups, Yocona Puff Adder is a dazzling debut by an important new voice in southern American fiction, prompting critics to make comparisons to such classic authors as William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. A coming-of-age story set in the turbulent era of Civil Rights and Vietnam, the novel chronicles the history of an unlikely relationship between a white city boy named Scott and a black country boy named C.B. The bond that develops between these two transcends the bigotry and segregation of the era. Although comparisons to the greats of southern fiction are apt, the novel's most important precursor would seem to be Huckleberry Finn - but in this case, we watch as the two protagonists grow from innocent, mischievous boys into men haunted by violence and responsibility. The story ranges far and wide, from Sin City Memphis to a tour in Vietnam, from encounters with Ku Klux Klan members to encounters with nubile cheerleaders, from games of marbles to careers in the U.S. Forest Service - all leading to a startling climax and a surprising final twist.
Curtis Wilke, Cook Chair in Journalism, University of Mississippi:
"Inmon's novel has a lot of Huck Finn in it. The tale is rich with folksy anecdote and involves two boys, one white, the other black, as they come of age and recognize that race is a critical factor of life in the rural South. The locale is obviously Oxford, Mississippi, and though the characters have been given ficticious names, some of them, such as William Faulkner, are easily recognized in a facinating town where Inmon, himself grew up during an interesting period in history.
Dr. David Galef, University of Mississippi Professor of English/MFA Program Administrator:
Gerald Inmon is the real thing: a forestry professional whose nature writing is lyrical and apt, as well as a grown up who's never forgotton the way it feels to be a kid. Gerald's voice is authentic. He's a hard worker, willing to revise until the prose sings. The double story of two Mississippi boys who grow up and diverge and then come back together is really poignant, not to mention speaking a lot about the South from the 50's on. That Gerald's lived through it all enables him to put a lot of details based sqaurely on fact, and they give the tale an authority it might not otherwise possess. But what impresses me most about the novel is that it engages in good old-fashioned storytelling, an art that the public never seems to grow tired of, but which seems increasingly rare in this era of trick-novels.
Jo Middleton, Virginia Press Award Winner:
"Tale telling is a genetic thing in Miss-ah-sip and like his kindredspirits, Welty, Faulkner, et.al., this fellow's good at it. Most chapters are good, but there are those which climb to brilliance.
Dr. Allan Burns - Littleton, CO:
Race, War, and Nature - "There's nothing like a good lie...especially when the bulk of it is true." Professional forester and wildlife biologist Gerald Inmon is out to entertain and tell all he knows in his exciting and richly autobiographical first novel, Yocona Puff Adder (pronounced "YAWK-na").
The narrative concerns two motherless seven-year-olds in segregated Mississippi, white city boy Scott and black country boy C.B. They grow up together in William Faulkner's famous, thinly fictionalized Yoknapatawpha County. Through outdoor adventures and city escapades, the boys form a bond that transcends the racial boundaries and bigotry of the era.
Though most of the novel's fifty-one chapters could work as stand alone short stories, continuity from one chapter to the next allows readers to trace the years and experiences that roguhhew the boys into men. The crucial events that shape the protagonists' lives and the times in which they live. Along the way, the two friends also meet thinly fictionalized versions of under-appreciated Civil Rights pioneer James Meredith and Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner himself. Important issues are explored concerning racism, war, and the environment-notably, exposure of the truth concerning the use of Agent Orange.
Almost as much a book about nature as it is a book about human nature, Yocona Puff Adder will appeal to recreational readers as well as to students of the Civil Rights era, Vietnam, southern literature, and environmental history. "Inmon's novel has a lot of Huck Finn in it," writes University of Mississippi journalism professor Curtis Wilke. "The tale is rich with folksy anecdote," UofM professor of English/MFA Program Administrator, Dr David Galef adds, "Gerald Inmon is the real thing: a forestry professional whose nature writing is lyrical and apt...He's a hard worker, willing to revise until the prose sings...Gerald's voice is authentic and ought to be heard." Prize-winning freelance writer Jo Middleton has called Inmon a "kindred spirit" to such greats of southern literature as Faulkner and Edora Welty.
With illustrations preceding approximately half of the chapters, the book offers a handsome layout in addition to the powerful substance of its tale. Fans of contemporary fiction will not want to miss the debut of this imprtant new voice in American literature.
Mark Norton - Richmond, VA - 5 stars:
A great story teller. Mr. Inmon's book grabbed my attention from the first chapter. My parents were from Mississippi and I have often wondered what their childhood was like. The experiences of the two boys and all their adventures reminded me of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer. This is the work of a classic story teller. I can't wait for another novel from Inmon.
Southern Girl "Souther Girl" - 5 stars:
Yocona Puff Adder is a tale of two boys growing up together, but separately, in the deep South beginning in the 1950's. The story chronicles the lives of one white boy and one black boy with common goals and dreams but different perspectives and opportunities. The book tells the tale with language that takes you into the woods of North Mississippi and allows you to "see" nature both in the woods and the human heart. The author uses his own experiences with William Faulkner to create "Mr. J." and bring alive the character for the reader. I recommend the story with enthusiasm.
Mrs. Robert Plants - Oxford, MS -
We thoroughly enjoyed it. After reading this book, I won't say my husband bought ten copies, but it was about that many, to send to friends and relatives.
Karl Kunkel :
Native Mississippians are proud to proclaim that they are wedded to the land. The narrator of this fictionalized account of growing up in this Deep South state in the 1950s makes that fact perfectly clear in the first chapter. Vivid descriptions of the land by the narrator permeate this book as the author grows and matures in Oxford, the town he shared with novelist William Faulkner.
Just wanted to drop a note and say how much I enjoyed reading Yocona Puff Adder. What really hit me was my own situation. I agree, friends are special people. My friend of fifty six years and I did a few of the things you spoke of in your book. Your story kept my interest and yes, I shed a few tears several times while reading some of the more sensitive sides. Thanks again for sharing part of your life. I truly enjoyed it and look forward to your next book.
Nancy Walker - Memphis, TN
I bought the book in spite of the cover. The book was an unexpected delight. I really enjoyed the dialect and the descriptions of the woods. After reading Yocona Puff Adder I know I need to get the tent out again. I think maybe you might have saved some of the grown up stuff for another volumne or two. In fact, I will be looking for something more in depth about your time in the tropics. Thank you again for selling me the book.
"Southernborn" K. Bryant - 5 stars:
So many "southern" novels portray us as idiots. It is so refreshing to read a book about REAL people with REAL feelings and emotions and to read REAL descriptions of people and places. You know this writer has lived this story. He will intrigue you, make you laugh out loud and then wring tears from your eyes. It is a man's book and it is a woman's book. A true must read!
Gerald Inmon is a true Mississippian who has written about what he knows best, his own experiences growing up in Oxford. This book is a good read with each chapter nearly capable of being a stand alone story. If you grew up in the South the characters and images will ring true. If you didn't, well maybe it will help you understand how much you missed out on. Either way, It's a good book and worth your time to read.
Lugene - Fredericksburg, VA - 5 stars:
Well worth reading. The mark of a good book for me is whether I want to spend time with the characters. Do I want to enter their world, be a part of it? The answer was a decided yes from the very first pages of Yocona Puff Adder. Not only were the author's characters worth my time, reading this book was like revisiting a part of my history as well. I bought a copy of this book for each of my sons. I want them to meet the boys who became men in difficult times. This is a type of book almost lost today. It is a book of heroes.
Patsy Vining - Forts Lake, MS - 5 stars:
An entertaining and richly autobiographical debut novel, Yocona Puff Adder's 51 chapters could work alone as excellent short stories, but a continuity carries over to tell the "whole" story as two boys grow up and old. Best friends and of different races, they form a lasting bond through their experiences that transcends the racial boundaries. The place is obviously Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha. This supurb book shows how the area and some of the people have changed and how some of it and them haven't.
Tamika Washington - Natchez, MS:
It's really worth the read. It's a great story with good characters. Anyone who loves Mississippi history and culture will appreciate the author's special view of the state's race relations as revealed through the characters.
Brant Sappington - MS:
I'm not the type of person who normally writes "fan letters" but I just wanted to say thank you. I can't begin to tell you how moving an experience it was to travel through the years with these two characters. Not only have you crafted a powerful story, you have helped me better understand both my father's experinces growing up in rural Mississippi and the way my father-in-law's time as an infantry soldier in Vietnam affected and shaped him into the person he is today. I found myself laughing at one moment and moved to tears only a few pages later. You truly are another in the long line of powerful writers and amazing storytellers from our state. Thanks again and I'll be waiting anxiously for your next work to be published.
Mike Pumphrey :
Most Entertainment provided by a book in memory. Loved the mischievousness of the two youngsters and the way you continued their youthful bonds into adulthood. I enjoyed reading your wonderful book. I'll be on the lookout for your next work.
David Reece - Milington, TN:
One fine book. One of the best reads I have ever had. I looked forward every night to my next chapter or two and sure got disappointed when it was all over. Thanks for helping me relive some of my experiences. The book would make a great movie or mini-series and I really think that will happen.
Larry Martoglio - Lexington, KY:
I read it slowly instead of my usual speedreading and couldn't put it down. I liked the flow of the book, found many of the stories familiar, and enjoyed your ingenuity. I think this thing could take off.
B.J. Rodgers - Pascagoula, MS
Leaves the feeling I walked right along with them. It shares my thoughts about the "good" Black people. And the Yocona Puff Adder could really manifest itself in places. Now, I need to read the book over again.
Elsie Cooper Dixon:
Reading Yocona Puff Adder has brought back many wonderful memories of Oxford. It has been such fun visulizing the setting. The hours I spent in "Baily Woods" are some of my fondest memories. You have done a wonderful job painting the lore of Oxford. As a teacher, I can see this book being used to do a critic on the 50s and 60s - especially the comparison to Faulkner.
Kirk Thompson - Atlanta, GA:
Thoroughly enjoyable and just gets better as it goes along. I know I went through a wide range of emotions as I remembered growing up in the Mississippi Delta.
Larry Clay - Mathiston, MS:
The most moving experience I've had from a novel.
Jackie Womble - Raleigh, NC:
I felt like I had hunted the fields after reading this. I do recall many fishing trips as a child. I also had visited Yocona community and to the home of Faulkner so I felt like I knew the area. Hats off to Gerald. Good writing requires commitment of time, energy, emotions and solitude. I think the last one is something that keeps lots of people from doing the hard work that writing a great piece requires.
Randy Benefield - Moss Point, MS:
Touched all the emotions a book should. It made me proud and ashamed, sad and happy, and a little homesick. After reading the last few pages tears rolled down my cheeks as I recalled loved ones no longer with us and thought of those who I should make an effort to see more often. Thanks for the "gift."
Jantiques3@adelphia.net - KY:
I could not put it down. If your readers are of my mind it will be a great success. Most of them don't know you like I do and that gave me additional insight. Great job!
Betsy Aloway - Abbeville, MS:
Writes like Faulkner.
Frank Leggett - Oxford, MS:
Really enjoyed it. Split my sides laughing over it. Had a similar experience as a youth.
William Oliphant - Oxford, MS:
A very good writer, and that comes from an avid reader of all kinds of books.
William Pittman - Huntsville, Alabama:
Wow! Congratulation on the wonderful book reviews you have received for Yocona Puff Adder. You apparently have a lot of people out there waiting for your next book.
Sabrina Chandler, Wildlife Biologist - Jackson, MS:
I really enjoyed it. I laughed out loud a lot and even cried, too.
Judy Jones, Editor/English Teacher - Oxford, MS:
The dialect and dialog really established the characters and made them come alive and seem real. References to the title are carried all the way through the book, arousing curiosity. I enjoyed reading the narrative passages of setting even though I have zero knowledge of the woods. I could picture the places quite well. I found myself wanting to get a feel for where things were taking place. I found myself anticipating what would be said in the last line of each chapter and liked the strong ending of the book. The humerous antics, the local color, the sense of the times all make a very interesting story. I think the book would make a great movie.
Michael Knox - Eastn, MD:
I'm a huge fan. I just read "Yocona Puff Adder" and it was wonderful. Everyone I've talked to today, I've been telling them about it and that it is a must read.
Larry Jarrett - Ecru, MS:
I read Yocona Puff Adder and loved it. You could be the John Grisham of nature writing. I'm looking forward to your next one.
Gary Simon - Asheville, NC:
Book to be savored for a long time. In fact, I just had one sent as a gift to a good friend and noted contemporary artist and biology major really into environmental issues and wildlife in general. I'm looking forward to Camp Re-Form.
Dr. Bobby Dale - Tupelo, MS:
Thank you for such a remarkable book and unique writing style. I related to and was fascinated by so many things in it and it spoke to me in so many ways.
The Daily Mississippian:
Many up-and-coming Mississippi writers strive their entire careers to reach the likes of William Faulkner and Eudora Welty...With his first autobiographical novel, Gerald Inmon has been thrust into the category of such authors (B. Porter, 5/2/06).
Really worth the read...a great story with great characters. Anyone who loves Mississippi history and culture will appreciate Inmon's special view of the state's race relations as revealed through the characters (T. Washington, 5/06).
The Daily Corinthian:
Exciting and richly autobiographical. Important issues are explored concerning racism, wars and the environment. Yocona Puff Adder will appeal to recreational readers as well as to students of the Civil Rights ers, Vietnam, Southern literature, and environmental history. Fans of contemporary fiction will not want to miss the debut of this important new voice in American Literature (Features Editor, 4/06).
Jackson Free Press:
Dazzling debut set in the turbulent era of Civil Rights and Vietnam.
The Daily Journal:
Oxford spawns yet another writer. Some reviewers have invoked the name Huckleberry Finn while making comparisons. Not an autobiography, still and yet, there's a lot of Inmon within its covers. To paraphrase the late, great Eudora Welty, "A writer ought to write that which he is familiar." That's what Inmon has done - and he's done it well (L. Criss,4/23/06).
The Oxford Eagle:
Set in what's been called Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, it follows separate and connected lives of two motherless 7-year old boys, one white and the other black. They grow up to form a bond that takes them from a time of bigotry and segregation through the Vietnam war and into the present as they are haunted by the violence and responsibility that is often so much a part of Southern literature (D. Whitten, Editor, 4/6/06).
The Natchez Democrat:
Through outdoor adventures and city escapdes, the boys form a bond that transcends the racial boundaries and bigotry of a segregated era (Features Editor, 4/22/06).
This piece of historical fiction is a coming of age story and more-than-memoir that bridges the early 1950s through today . . . sharing little known facts and demonstrating that life is more interesting than plain fiction. With one boy white and the other black in segregated Mississippi, backwoods and riverbottom adventures are too exciting to allow these motherless seven-year-olds to consider the normal bigotry of the times. Childhood is grounded in mischief around Oxford's Baily Woods and in the rural community of Taylor. The Yocona and Little Tallahatchie Rivers help shape the area's youth, and their teen years find Scott and C.B. interacting with Weekend Warriors and the Klan. Summer jobs and outdoor experiences roughhew the boys into men. Adult complications in Sin City Memphis precede diverging paths with college forestry versus the logging woods, grad school versus a tour in Vietnam, and professional versus technical careers in the workplace. All the while, challenges and opportunities stretch from the commonplace to the controversial. During retirement, the two men volunteer and grow old. The book finishes with a twist the reader wonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t be expecting.
Southern story with charm, nature and character, Yocona Puff Adder is a tale of two boys growing up together, but separately, in the deep South beginning in the 1950's. The story chronicles the lives of one white and one black boy with common goals and dreams but different perspectives and opportunities. The book tells the tale with language that takes you into the woods of North Mississippi and allows you to "see" nature both in the woods and the human heart. The author uses his own experiences with William Faulkner to create "Mr. J" and bring alive the character for the reader. I recommend the story with enthusiasm.
A Tale of Two Friends
Yocona Puff Adder by Gerald Inmon. $27.95 hardcover, ISBN 0-9774864-3-5, published by Taylor House Publishing, 141 CR 369 Oxford, MS 38655. (662) 816-4180 www.yoconapuffadder.com
Yocona Puff Adder is a dazzling debut by an important new voice in southern American fiction, prompting critics to make comparisons to such classic authors as William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. A coming-of-age story set in the turbulent era of Civil Rights and Vietnam, the novel chronicles the history of an unlikely relationship between a white city boy named Scott and a black country boy named C.B. The bond that develops between these two transcends the bigotry and the segregation of the times. Although comparisons to the greats of southern fiction are apt, the novel's most important precursor would seem to be Huckleberry Finn - but in this case, we watch as the two protagonists grow from innocent, mischievous boys into men haunted by violence and responsibility.
Clearly as much autobiography as it is fiction, Yocona Puff Adder draws freely from the deep well of this author's experience. A native and longtime resident of Oxford, Mississippi (Faulkner's home town), Inmon writes with authority about the South and southern culture. He earned an MS in wildlife management from Mississippi State University, served a tour of duty in Vietnam, and had a distinguished career as a forester and wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service: these experiences, also, clearly furnished much of the material for Yocona Puff Adder.
The novel's fifty-one chapters, each almost a stand-alone short story, seamlessly document the growth and development of the two protagonists, whose destinies become entwined during an innocuous game of marbles. Together, they undertake various adventures in the river bottomlands of the surrounding countryside and head off on an ill-fated and innocence-ending excursion to the "big town" of Sin City Memphis. Along the way, they are tutored in life's complexities by Mr. Jefferson, whom most readers will recognize as a thinly-disguised stand-in for William Faulkner himself (whom Inmon knew).
Eventually, the paths of the two friends diverge, as Scott pursues a professional degree in graduate school while C.B. serves a harrowing tour of duty in the 'Nam. The narrative, however, charts a symmetrical course, with the men eventually drawn back together by their chosen career paths. Although war experience alters C.B. in profound ways, creating silence and mystery where before there was easy camaraderie and openness, the two men never lose their special bond. To the end, Scott sticks by his long-time friend, even when everyone else has abandoned him.
Although the tale takes some poignant turns, along the way it is often sexy, exciting, and full of truth about many subjects. The prose soars, especially when Inmon paints the natural world, which he knows so intimately. Here's his description of a lnading covey of quail:
"Like miniature airplanes needing a runway to land on-the-run, they move their tiny little legs so fast is looks as if they have landing gear instead of super quick feet. For their short height, they stand tall taxiing down several rows of barren cornfield. As they double time along in their columnar formation, they look like little soldiers, all decked out in the drab colors of uniforms."
In addition to the compelling story and the rich writing, it's also just possible that Inmon's expose' of experiments with Agent Orange will spark international debate and outrage.
Yocona Puff Adder is a very strong debut by a writer keyed and pitched with a unique voice. It's a 21st-century continuation of the strong line of southern writers who dominated the previous century's fiction, from Faulkner and Katherine Anne Porter to Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, Peter Taylor, Truman Capote, Flannery O'Conner, and William Styron. The book will appeal to those who like "a good read," as well as to connoisseurs of literature and students of the Civil Rights era, Vietnam, and environmental history
All or part of this review may be used without further permission - About Books, Inc.
Order now either book for $25.00 or $40.00 for both books which includes the shipping, handling and tax.
Yocona Puff Adder ISBN-13:978-0-9774864-3-4
Camp Re-Form ISBN-13:978-0-9774864-7-2
Both books are also available electronically at the Kindle Store for $9.99 each.
Mail Check to:
Taylor House Publishing 141 CR 369 Oxford, MS 38655
or Telephone: 662-816-4180
It will be mailed immediately at media mail rate, so expect it in about a week
If you would like to contact Gerald Inmon personally for any reason, including ordering a personalized copy the e-Mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you very much, Gerald