In the Middle

Miller Hoffman #1

Fiction - General
316 Pages
Reviewed on 08/10/2013
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Author Biography

Zelmer Wilson (1975- ) was born in Fort Collins, Colorado. At the age of three, he moved with his family to Fort Smith, Arkansas. He would live there until he was eleven years old. In the summer of 1986, he left Arkansas and moved to Phoenix, Arizona with his father and stepmother. During the summer of 1990, while visiting his mother and two sisters in Birmingham, Alabama, he discovered his calling in life, to be a writer. His debut novel, In the Middle, is inspired by his own difficult teenage years in Phoenix, Arizona.

His influences are Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, Larry Brown, Janet Fitch, and James Ellroy.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

In the Middle tells the story of Miller Hoffman, a shy Southern kid trying to be like his father; ambitious and no stranger to success. When his parents divorced, Alma becomes his stepmother and he has a hard time dealing with his attraction toward her. Written by Zelmer Wilson, this is a poignant story of a boy’s journey into adulthood.

The prose is simple, but there is something very honest about it that grabbed my interest instantly from the beginning. Perhaps this was because of the young age of the narrator and protagonist of the story. I sympathized and laughed at the same time as he struggled in his moments of puberty. Obviously, they get harder to handle when he is attracted to his beautiful stepmother at the same time. I did not expect his life to become more difficult and dramatic as the story progresses, which I will not mention here to avoid spoilers. Characterization is good; my only complaint is that finding out the protagonist's name after 24 pages later takes too long for me. Also, even though I’m satisfied with the readable prose, there are times when certain sentences of the narration are too juvenile for my taste.

Even so, In the Middle is a solid read and I did enjoy it enough to finish it in one sitting. Author Zelmer Wilson is a hidden gem in the writing industry and I truly believe that he will get better in his craft. I look forward to his next work.