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In this follow-up to his bestselling autobiography Rocket Boys, Homer Hickam chronicles the eventful autumn of 1959 in his hometown, the West Virginia mining town of Coalwood. Sixteen-year-old Homer and his pals in the Big Creek Missile Agency are high school seniors, still building homemade rockets and hoping that science will provide them with a ticket into the wider world of college and white-collar jobs. Such dreams make them suspect in a conservative small town where "getting above yourself" is the ultimate sin and where Homer's father, superintendent of the Coalwood mines, is stingy with praise and dubious about his son's ambitions. Homer's mother remains supportive, but bluntly reminds him, "You can't expect everything to go your way. Sometimes life just has another plan." Indeed, Hickam's unvarnished portrait of Coalwood covers class warfare (union miners battling with his authoritarian father), provincial narrow-mindedness (the local ladies scorn a young woman living outside wedlock with a man who abuses her), and endless gossiping along the picket "fence line." These sharp details make the unabashed sentiment of the book's closing chapters feel earned rather than easy. Hickam can spin a gripping yarn and keep multiple underlying themes and metaphors going at the same time. His tender but gritty memoir will touch readers' hearts and minds. --Wendy Smith --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Not really a sequel to Hickam's first memoir, Rocket Boys (which was made into the successful movie, October Sky, and dealt primarily with his gang of misfit friends and their inventive, adventurous exploits) this book, set around Christmas 1959, is a study of the town of Coalwood and how a fast-moving world affects a small community resistant to change and the introspective teenage boy in its midst. Hickman's reading is flawless. His voice and perspectiveAas a man looking back on his childhoodAconvincingly conveys experience and a reminiscent tone, while at the same time sounding so full of youthful exuberance that listeners will be certain they hear the voice of teenage Homer himself. Coalwood, W.Va., is a coal-mining town. Homer Hickam Sr., the author's father, is the superintendent of the mine and resented by the workers. To his children, he is a formidable man, and his imaginative second son, Homer Jr., aka "Sonny," obsessed with the 1950s space race, does not want to follow in his father's black, dusty footprints. With Christmas fast approaching, the tension in the town grows as layoffs threaten miners' jobs, until Sonny's father takes a huge risk to save them and the town's livelihood. Simultaneous release with the Dell hardcover (Forecasts, Sept. 18). (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
I wished there was more to the story. Loved Rocket Boys but this was too slow and a bit boring.Published 7 months ago by Ari B.
How many wonderful works of literature were we denied by Homer Hickam (not Hickham or Hickman) going into Industrial Engineering? Read morePublished on May 12 2004 by Michael in Helena, Alabama
There is something about Mr. Hickam's writing that draws you in immediately. It seems that each and every word that he writes is meaningful not just as a word in a sentence, but... Read morePublished on May 7 2003 by Jennings Xu
Brilliant, I took me only 2 days to finish this book, a great book to follow Rocket Boys (aka October Sky). Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2003
I love Christmas stories and this is one of the best ever written. It is the only Christmas book that has made me truly appreciate the miracles that can only happen at Christmas. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2002
The Coalwood Way, by Homer Hickam, is the sequel to October Sky. It is 1959 and the
Rocket Boys are still making their handmade rockets. Read more
This book is not about rockets. But then, neither was Rocket Boys, when you think about it. Rockets happen to be the glue that held the vignettes in the first story together, but... Read morePublished on July 1 2002 by Bruce Pierson
The book The Coalwood Way by Homer Hickam is an excellent read. Out of a five scale rating, I give it a five. It was truly, an incredible book. Read morePublished on May 16 2002
I have lived in West Virginia all my life. I know how hard life is, to find a job and raise a family. I also know how proud most West Virginia's are of the state. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2002