The Coalwood Misfits is one of the books of The Clear Fork Series
Back in the 1950s when homework was little threat to a kid's good times and after-school sports were still mostly fun, a group of boys grow up together in a small coal mining town in southern West Virginia, camping, fighting fires, flirting and getting in trouble. This community feels the collective obligation to keep setting them right, but not quite as often as they deserve.
By part two of this novel-cum-memoir, it's 1957 and the boys are becoming teenagers, the narrator, Bobby, has discovered the things that boys discover: that girls don't totally find him resistable, that his big brother is really his friend, and that his once cherished nickname has its drawbacks.
Suddenly, thousands of miles away in places they had only read about in their geography books, events are set loose that change their lives and the world itself. Those changes sweep over the earth, and almost immediately stir their little coal camp from its Appalachian slumber. It is the first time they have witnessed world change so up close, so personal. It comes as a sparkling light speeding across the clear autumn skies. Sputnik, that glowing moon of beeping Russian steel, captures their boyish thoughts and channels their energy toward higher goals. For the first time in their lives they look beyond the safety of the ancient mountains to find a noble objective--bringing parity to the space race. And as a result, an elaborate project, as humorous as their earlier adventures, puts them in touch with the supernatural, a web of mysterious people of unknown origin, the shadowy world of politics and national defense, and powerful men in the most secret reaches of the U.S. government.
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J. R. Hatmaker, a native of southern West Virginia, has given us another humorous and unique look into life as it was in the Appalachian coal camps of the 1950s and early 60s. Hatmaker is also the author of The Kindred Gathering and Shoddy and Ox, other books of The Clear Fork series.Review:
Back in the fifties when homework was little threat to a kid's good times, a group of boys grow up together in a small caol mining town in West Virginia, camping, fighting, hunting, flirting and getting in trouble--this village feels the collective obligation to keep setting them right--but not quite as often as they deserve. By part two, an elaborate project as humorous as their earlier adventures puts them in touch with the supernatural and national defense. --Natalie Jacobson McCracken, Director, Executive Publications, Bostonia Magazine
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