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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Stuccoville: Life Without a Net by Charles Lewis Radke is a poignant memoir about a mother/son relationship. Radke tells of his impoverished childhood, having little to eat besides tomato sandwiches, caring for his mother, who was ill with lupus, and dealing with the void left by his father, who abandoned him at age eight to run off with another woman. This left Chuck and his mother to struggle on their own and handle life's ups and downs. You will grow with the author from his childhood through teenage years and dating and on into adulthood as a family man, including a severe motorcycle accident and some very relatable mother/father issues. As an only child and caregiver to his mother, Chuck's life had some gray moments. Still, his story is balanced with positivity because his experiences made him who he turned out to be: caring, sensitive, and appreciative. He wasn't a saint, though, and will be the first to tell you he was just an ordinary person doing the best he could with what he had.
Some memoirs read as though a generic person writes them, but Radke's writing talents shine through with a uniqueness of character, personality, and style. His descriptions of time, setting, events, and people are literary, and you realize that he's a born writer who could elevate any subject matter. The tales he shares from his youth may remind you of your own. If you like memoirs that take you inside the author's heart and mind but deliver a message that will connect with your spirit and make you think about life journeys, you will enjoy Stuccoville: Life Without a Net by Charles Lewis Radke.