US Review of Books

Reviewed by: Nicole Yurcaba

“He realized he had not asked for any help and on day two of his preparation decided that he should be praying for answers and guidance for enlightenment and blessing.”

In this book, readers meet Coy, a young man who discovers a book he doesn’t know will change his life. Coy’s family is in disarray after his mother’s passing, and Coy is sent to spend a couple of weeks with his grandfather. As readers progress through the novel, they see Coy’s relationship with his grandfather develop. Meanwhile, they also see the huge void that Coy’s grandmother’s death left not only in Coy’s grandfather’s life but the entire family’s existence. Eventually, Coy meets Emmanuel, a young black man whom he befriends. Coy unravels the mystery of Growler, a potentially seedy man who works at Little Mora with Coy’s grandfather. As the protagonist makes his way through many personal and spiritually intimate discoveries, a pathway to faith, understanding, happiness, and self-identity unfold.

One of the most memorable lessons from this book is, “So much of life was not a choice, like living as a one-armed bandit and not being an outlaw.” As Coy wonders why people are who they are, readers see him engaging in what will become a lifelong quest in recognizing and achieving one’s purpose. Coy’s discoveries also lead him to an exploration of the Bible. For readers of faith, Coy’s journey might mimic their own. As they progress through the book’s pages, they encounter memorable sayings like “‘Remember, your smell might not be too bad tonight, but there is always a chance that your stench will carry the moment.'” Readers will leave this book remembering that what is important in life is to take the time to appreciate the small moments because, in truth, “one lifetime is not enough.”