Reichold Street

Young Adult - Action
291 Pages
Reviewed on 05/20/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A member of the National Writers Association, Michigan Writers, the American Academy of Poets, and the Alliance of Independent Authors, Ronald Herron once worked for some of the world's largest ad agencies and an international Fortune 10 company.

His non-fiction efforts have been rewarded with several prestigious publishing awards, including Gold and Bronze Awards from the IABC, Gold and Silver ARC Awards, and a "Best in Class" Award from the NAIA.

His stories and poems have appeared in print and on respected e-forums. His award-winning novel "Reichold Street" and his two short-story collections "Tinker" and "Zebulon" are available in print and as e-Books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.

An avid reader himself, he admits to an eclectic taste, enjoying mystery and suspense, historical fiction and tales from writers like Stephen King, Dean Koontz and the late Ray Bradbury.

He enjoys listening to a wide range of music from classical to Motown, to the Rolling Stones, CCR, Bob Seger and Pink Floyd, along with lots of other bluesy rock.

He lives in Michigan with his beautiful wife, a talented musician-composer son, an ugly mortgage and one extremely large cat.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorraine Carey for Readers' Favorite

"Reichold Street" is an extremely moving account of a group of boys who come of age during the turbulent 1960's. It begins as a place where young boys played ball in the street but in its later years it was riddled with suicide, thugs and crime. It starts off with a mysterious family moving into an average neighborhood where several boys have already formed a genuine bond of friendship. Within the dynamics of this family is a very tortured and angry bully who struggles to fit in with this dynamic bunch. Albert Parker and his family begin to give Reichold Street a run for their money with family issues of mental and physical abuse. As Albert becomes labeled as the bad bully here you will surprisingly see his character revealed later on as a product of his abusive father and the environment. He was a boy with a destiny already marked for failure. The early events flow as each boy in the gang holds a specific role and so many vivid details are portrayed as these boys experience the pleasures and pains of adolescence. The boys will witness such tragedy and triumph. The story will spiral as it chronicles the boys’ lives after graduation. You will be moved by Albert’s shady beginnings to find out the real story behind all the madness. Some walked away from this neighborhood in fame or defeat and some never survived the haunting essence of this place they called Reichold Street.

Ronald L. Herron is a master of the art of character development. You can hear each voice clearly as they relate relate their experiences on Reichold Street. For a work of fiction this brings to life some of the real tragedies that had occurred during that time. I believe this book will appeal to a vast audience, and as a reading specialist, I feel this is a great piece of literature for young boys and would be a wonderful addition to any school library.

Anne B.

Ronald Herron, author of Reichold Street offers Young Adults a coming of age novel. In Reichold Street readers will meet a group of neighborhood teens. Each individual faces their own struggle. The setting is the turbulent sixties when young adults had to face the horrors of the Vietnam war. This book is unique in that it is written as though it is several short stories; however, it is actually an anthology, which is a group of short stories dealing with a particular subject matter. Usually the stories are written by several authors. In "Reichold Street" all of the stories are written by Ronald L. Herron. The plot is told from the perspective of several different people. In this story we meet Albert Parker. Albert is new to the neighborhood, when a group of friends offer friendship, Albert comes across as a bully and rejects the offer of friendship. As the tale advances we the readers come to realize Albert is from an extremely abusive family. His mother is repeatedly beat and when Albert attempts to take up for her he is taken to jail.

Herron's characters come to life on the pages and march straight into the hearts of readers. This plot is character-driven. Carl is obviously mentally ill as well as being a mean drunk. The plot centers on Albert but Carl is also a driving force in this tale. Herron has deftly captured the confusion and changes in personality in a person with mental illness. He clearly shows the effect it has on the family and friends.

I like this book. I find Herron's style to be fresh and enticing. It is easy to recommend this book to other readers.

Jean Brickell

Written in the style of a themed anthology, the characters of Reichold Street each have story to tell. As the story unfolds, you learn how the death of his father and the distorted personality of his mentally ill step-father, Carl, contributed to the unhappy person Albert became. Carl tried to control his mental problems with alcohol. Albert handled his problems by rejecting friendship with others, fighting and causing trouble. The other recurring characters, Paul, Janice, Randy, Donnie and Anthony were a microcosm of working-class America during the turbulent Vietnam War era. This collection of stories is combined into a fascinating tale of life during that period.

"Reichold Street" is a painful story of mental illness and self medication with alcohol that devastates a whole family, but also leads to unparalleled heroism in battle during an unpopular war. I found it interesting the way Herron chose to write this tale, in several short stories about the same story but through varying character viewpoints. I was fascinated by this enthralling book because it shows firsthand what the double trauma of alcohol and mental illness can lead to.

Weekend Reader

One of the reasons I enjoyed 'Reichold Street' was its unpredictability. I wasn't able to 'get ahead' of the writer and anticipate events, so it played out like reality, complete with all life's bumps and bruises. There was no fairy tale or 'cookie cutter' ending. Seeing some of the same events through a different pair of eyes was an interesting choice of narrative. I think the writing was skillful and absorbing, not overly sentimental, but with just the right touch of nostalgia. The conversational exchanges were both realistic and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed `Reichold Street' and would recommend it highly.

David J. Kenney

In his book 'Reichold Street' R. L. Herron skillfully depicts the lives lived along a seemingly typical U.S. suburban street. His descriptions of human relationships keeps the reader intrigued and wondering what the next chapter will bring. Even after the lives along the lane seem fully defined, Herron introduces yet another life event. Most everyone, having been a member of a family, can relate to these experiences. As families age and the children grow up, neighborhoods develop a history and personality of their own. Herron is able to portray this process in a unique and vibrant way that keeps the readers turning page after page in a desperate attempt to keep up with their curiosity about how it will all turnout.

This book functions wonderfully as a study in character analysis. Herron has seeded, watered, developed, and harvested a bushel of folks, some sweet and some sour but all vivid and true to their nature. In fact, the character study is enhanced when people are describe by different individuals in the same book. So that we get to see the significant people as multi-dimensional as each narrator describes them from their own point of view. The inhabitants of Reichold Street are complex, like real folk, seen in different peoples’ perspectives.

The relationships discussed in this book are sometimes positive, while others are decidedly negative. But almost all the relationships studied prove to be fairly inadequate at supporting and aiding their members when the vicissitudes of life turn very rough and damaging. It is near thematic here that superficial relationships fail when crises become acute. When our personal relationships fail us at the time we need them most, we pay a huge emotional price. Like Paul paid in confusion at his neighbor’s funeral upon finding out that the deceased thought him his ”best friend” and he uncertain that they were friends at all. As in today’s world, marriages break-up, parents fail to protect their children, children disavow them in return, and friends disappear mysteriously only to return later but in a nearly unrecognizable state. A quick glance at the outcomes of Reichold Street relationships shows them ranging from tragic to melancholy at best. Clearly something is deficient in this normal, all-American environment. Mr. Herron’s message is subtle but poignant.

Reichold Street is a truly, must-read book for people who understand people and love them anyway. Its portraits are rich, compelling and complex. It is clearly written and engages the reader’s curiosity completely.

Brian MacLearn

'Reichold Street' is a themed anthology. The author has cleverly woven together individual character personas into a central plot. The collection of stories all revolve around Reichold Street and the common bond of the characters in the novel. The majority of the story takes place in the later part of the nineteen-sixties. Each character has a unique voice. They share the memories of the events happening during that time, not just on Reichold Street, but also in their school, their town, and their personal lives.

I was able to live each moment with all the well-written characters interwoven throughout the novel. Herron choreographed the emotions and personalities of each character, allowing me to join in as one of the street's residents. Many times, authors like to direct us with their narration, but in Reichold Street, Herron gives us multiple perspectives, and lets us construct our own opinions. No one, and nothing, is what it seems at face value.

The biggest question for me, as I read deep into the novel was, how will the author pull all of the story lines together and end the book. He didn't disappoint me, and I felt the ending brought closure. Reichold Street deals with some tough issues, such as alcoholism, suicide, bullying, criminal activities, family dysfunction, and the horrors of fighting in the Vietnam War. In other words, the characters and the emotions of the novel are portrayed realistically. It was time well spent with Paul, Albert, Janice, and the rest of the residents on Reichold Street. I look forward to reading more of Ronald Herron's novels.