Southern Passage

Young Adult - Coming of Age
308 Pages
Reviewed on (not set)
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Author Biography

Jim originates from St. Louis County, Missouri. He discovered an interest in reading a variety of books and authors chiefly because of his Senior English college-prep course and its inspiring teacher, along with frequent visits to a local book store that helped open a world of critical thinking. Heading south with the Missouri Pacific Railroad the day after graduation, he earned money for college and picked up some lessons in life along the way. At summer's conclusion, he attended Central Missouri State College in Warrensburg, and after remaining there a while, enrolled at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. With a major in Sociology and several hours in Anthropology and Psychology, Jim graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. His interest in creative writing was nurtured during his college years; some of his poetry, along with a one act play, appeared in the school literary publication at Warrensburg.

He retired after a thirty-three and a half year career in 2006. With the free time it has afforded, Jim completed his first novel, Southern Passage, and has now completed his second, a work of science fiction centering on the multiverse theme.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Chris-Jean Clarke for Readers' Favorite

Southern Passage by Jim Yonker is set in the 1960s and opens with 18-year-old Buster, who has just graduated from a high school in St. Louis, seeking employment during the summer months as he needs the income to subsidise his college tuition, which starts in the fall. Thanks to his father, who works at the Pullman Railroad Company, he quickly finds employment at the Missouri Pacific Railroad in Texarkana. Although the location of the job means that Buster will have to move out of his family home in the North and move South for a short while, he is undeterred. He waves good-bye to his mother on the doorstep of their home, but as his family wants peace of mind in knowing where he will be living in Texarkana, his father assists him in finding cheap accommodation before saying his farewell. It isn't long before Jim Yonker has Buster exploring his new surroundings and newfound freedom; and enjoying the flexibility regarding his house rules, choice of meals or places to eat or visit, and the friends or girls he chooses to be acquainted with. However, as the story unfolds you will soon discover that Buster’s ‘Southern Passage’ will be no fairy-tale.

I love the concept of Jim Yonker’s gritty and true-to-life tale, Southern Passage, which could well have happened. I believe the premise will be of great interest to college students who are researching one of the following areas: the history of the railroads, the divide between the North and South and/or the racial prejudices and appalling acts of racism by white people towards black people during the '60s era. I also believe Southern Passage will appeal to avid readers who are 18+ and love first rate historical fiction books. There are sexual encounters as a backdrop to the story and violence and strong language interwoven throughout. I wish Jim Yonker every success with this story!

Jill Ford

This was an awesome read and held my attention to the end. I am very proud of my uncle for sharing the story of his youth and the times he grew up in.