This morning, we are very happy to feature author L. T. Garvin and she is sharing a Kirkus Review of her book, Dancing With the Sandman. I know you will enjoy this one, and will be glad to pass it along on all your social media contacts. Thanks so much!
Garvin’s (And They Came, 2017, etc.) latest novel offers a reflection of one girl’s coming-of-age in small-town Texas in the 1960s.
Billie Jo Dunstan has returned to her hometown of Viney to help her mother move. Along the way, she can’t help but to reflect on the changing times. Short, scattered vignettes about friends and family illustrate an account of her childhood, which she spent on the cusp of the counterculture. Garvin has an entertaining way with metaphor. Billie Jo describes the onslaught of memories during her journey thusly: “Splat! Hit one ghost. Then another.” Growing up in a small town as the youngest of three sisters, Billie Jo developed a talent for “making [her] own fun.” Among her exploits were tagging along to her sister’s drive-in theater outings, growing brine shrimp marketed as “Sea-Monkeys,” and idly speculating about the world around her. Her models for womanhood are diverse and reflect the times: her sisters Beth Ann and Dena Jo; a cosmopolitan cousin from Arizona, Henrietta, who goes by the nickname “Hank”; and a seemingly perfect Southern belle named Lacy Jean. Billie Jo’s fantasies of teenage life hint at possibility, just as her family history does; she recounts, in great detail, her ancestors’ gruesome experiences fleeing war and surviving the arid West Texas landscape, while tracing her family’s origins back to Scotland in the 1600s. Garvin portrays this history with unflinching honesty, never shying away from depicting the overt racial bigotry of the time and place. Interwoven with Billie Jo’s adventures is the story of Ernesto, also known as “Big Daddy,” a local rock musician who leaves Texas in search of fame. Together, their stories illustrate how social change affected the slow-paced, deeply Christian town. While Ernesto hunts for rock band Santana in Los Angeles, Billie Jo takes trips to the local soda shop, where she hears the music of the Beach Boys and the Cowsills. Garvin is at her best when offering these cheeky nods to the past, never getting bogged down in nostalgia.
A winning narrator enlivens a charming tale of a town facing modernity.
The Sandman cometh dancing to the beat of rock ‘n’ roll, blasting the turmoil of the sixties. And where are you? West Texas, of course.
“In a small, dusty rural area, there are histories and stories that should be told; times worth remembering; and there is a homage, a tribute that should be paid. Take the sand, all of it, mold it into castle shaped by the wind and baked by the sun.”
Billie Jo Dunstan confronts her past, traveling back to the 1960s through a decade of turbulence and swirling color memories, contemplating life growing up in rural Texas. Tragedy and comedy come alive, preserving the past and a portion of small town life that will survive beyond super highways and the ratcheting progress of time.
Author L. T. Garvin
L.T. Garvin is the pen name of Lana Broussard. Her short stories have appeared in print with the Texas Writer’s Journal. She has published poetry online with The Drabble, Poet’s Corner, Silver Burch Press and Wildsound Poetry Festival. L.T. writes fiction, poetry, essays, and humorous essays that she publishes on her blog: L.T. Garvin @ WordPress. L.T. Garvin is the author of Confessions of a 4th Grade Athlete, Animals Galore and Dancing with the Sandman.
Buy Dancing With the Sandman HERE
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