Mr. Meeks

Mr. Meeks

His Life & Times 1812-1867

Fiction - Historical - Personage
220 Pages
Reviewed on 10/31/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Book Review

Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite

Damian Hopkins, a young San Francisco newspaper reporter, undertakes an assignment that will change his life and outlook on other people in Mr. Meeks: His Life & Times 1812-1867 by David S. Larson. Hired by a wealthy benefactor to interview William Meeks, Hopkins is at first put off by the idea of dealing with a 'Mountain Man' whom he assumes will be crass and unpleasant. As Meeks, suffering the effects of consumption, recounts the story of his life, Hopkins comes to develop a deep and abiding respect for and friendship with the man who has endured so much heartbreak but retains a humble and positive outlook on life. Meeks has traveled from his birthplace in Lake Champlain, New York to the settlement of St. Augustine, Florida, the wilds of Mississippi, and further west to Oregon and California. His story intertwines with that of the Jennings family who were waylaid by bandits on their journey west and their connection is one of importance to all concerned. As Meeks becomes more and more disabled by his disease, his only concern is to reach his final resting place in peace. Will he live to complete his tale or will the depth of his sorrows be too much for Mr. Meeks to overcome?

David S. Larson has written a gripping narrative in interview format that provides a unique look at the men and women who pioneered the westward expansion. Mr. Meeks: His Life & Times 1812-1867 not only offers a wonderful historical overview of some of the most significant factors that shaped the developing nation but also a poignant personal look at a man of deep convictions and courage. This is an excellent book for both reasons and should certainly interest any reader in pursuing West, the novel about the Jennings family that inspired the telling of Mr. Meeks' life story.

Lit Amri

It’s the summer of 1867. Damian Hopkins, a 20-year-old reporter from the Daily Examiner in San Francisco, has been paid to interview Mr. William Meeks, and he already has a low opinion of the man. “He appears to be much like many of these rugged mountain men - heavy beard, weathered skin, untamed hair, and forever a rifle or knife at the ready. Such weapons are unneeded in these times. We live in an ordered world now, the great Civil War behind us, and an assassinated president two years past. And in all regards, we are in no further need of assistance from his kind.”

Of course, the young man is proven wrong. He becomes enamored with Meeks’ story, as did I, the reader. David S. Larson’s Mr. Meeks (His Life & Times 1812-1867) is a fascinating historical fiction through the eyes, interview and journal entries of Hopkins. Mr. Meeks was a hunter, soldier, husband, father, and explorer. His life story was a journey filled with joy and hardships. As Meeks’ story unfolds, his health declines further, and Hopkins finds it hard to accept that the man won’t last long.

Larson pours all his inventiveness and endeavor into creating a captivating tale and enhances it with a realistic element that gives so much more depth and perspective to the narrative and characters. Mr. Meeks revels in the telling that takes readers on a journey through the past. After I finished it, I was compelled to return to it again for the second time. Simply put, this is a remarkable read.

Stephen Fisher

Mr. Meeks by David C. Larson is a well written and moving story about the life and times of William Meeks, from his humble beginnings growing up on the New York side of Lake Champlain to joining the new army. Because of Mr. Meeks' familiarity with native Indian customs, he becomes an interpreter during the relocation of many tribes. When the Indians are seriously mistreated, which later became known as the "Trail of Tears," he abandons the army and takes part in many events of historical significance. He acted as a guide to many crossing the Oregon trail, with the help of his half breed son, Waiting Hawk, and friend Kit Carson. When a prominent citizen hires William Meeks to find his family that became separated during the move west, the integrity of our hero to finish the job is unsurpassed.

Mr. Larson does an amazing job of telling the story that a young reporter named Damian Hopkins had written down in his memoirs of the interviews with an ailing Mr. Meeks in 1867. It started out as just a job to write William's life story, who initially appeared to Mr. Hopkins as just another mountain man. As Damian recorded his interviews with William, his opinion of the man became more profound. By the time the interviews were over, William Meeks gave his last will and testament to the young reporter. David Larson was able to add some life to the unreadable parts of the fragile pages that are almost 150 years old. Mr. Meeks is one of the most moving stories I have ever read. Thank you, David, for resurrecting this diamond in the rough.

K.C. Finn

Mr. Meeks is a book penned by author David S Larson, centering on the historical character of the title. Derived from notes, journal entries and other ‘found’ sources, the story focuses on William Meeks, who was a small character in Larson’s other work, West: Journey Across The Plains. Now given his very own full length companion work, readers are ready to discover the extraordinary life of this free spirited soldier, from his birth in 1812 to the current date, summer 1867. It is here that interviewer Damian Hopkins meets Meeks, with somewhat low expectations, yet discovers the incredible truth about his contribution to the formation of the modern United States.

Having read work by David S Larson before, I was certain that the quality of Mr. Meeks would be superb, and indeed it was. The writing style smacks of authenticity for the mid-nineteenth century from the start, involving readers in the authentic voices of the characters as they leap off the page from their diary entries, messages and notes. Hopkins and his fussy contempt for the ‘mountain man’ style of Meeks’ appearance was highly amusing, and it was interesting to see the journalist grow and change as his opinion is influenced by his time with our central hero. Meeks himself is presented as reserved and highly eloquent despite his array of adventuring skills, evoking a delightfully deep character who is well worth exploring as the story continues. Mr. Meeks: His Life and Times 1812 – 1867 is an accomplished work sure to please all historical fiction fans.

Tracy Slowiak

Author David S. Larson has done it again! In an absolutely fantastic companion story to his previous work, West: Journey Across the Plains, the author has provided his readers with Mr. Meeks: His Life & Times 1812-1867. Taking place in the United States during the ‘Wild West’ era, the story follows reporter Damien Hopkins as he tries to get the scoop on Mr. William Meeks, a loner of a mountain man who has definitely had a past. With a history as a soldier, adventure seeker, explorer and hunter, Meeks certainly has much to tell, but the quiet man also has much to keep to himself. Damien begins to sense that there is much more to Meeks’ story than meets the eye, and when Mr. Meeks begins a decline to what Damien believes to be his ultimate demise, he becomes even more certain that he must tell the man's story before he’s gone.

I so enjoyed reading Mr. Meeks. I have had the great luck and pleasure of reading several of author David S. Larson’s books, and every one of them has had something special. In Mr. Meeks, this very special thing was the developing relationship between the characters of Mr. Meeks and Damien. Author Larson has developed these characters so brilliantly that readers will feel as if they actually know these men by the time they have finished the novel. I absolutely recommend this book to any reader looking for a great read, no matter what their favorite genre. I am simply astounded by the talent of David S. Larson, and am waiting for the time when I see his name on the best-seller’s lists. He certainly deserves to be there.