Tears of the Phoenix

Fiction - General
504 Pages
Reviewed on 01/22/2012
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Trudi LoPreto for Readers' Favorite

“Tears of the Phoenix” is the story of three eleven year old boys, Frankie,Aubrey and Tony,trying to deal with all that life throws at them.The time is the 1960s; the place is a small Southern town. Frankie is a boy without a dad, his father having died as a hero in the war. Aubrey suffers the humiliation of being an abused kid and Tony is the short, scrawny, rich “Yankee” kid from up North. The three boys are bullied, lonely and friendless until a school yard fight brings them together. They quickly become the “Three Musketeers“ and forge a friendship that will last a lifetime. Frankie is forced to deal with his mother’s serious illness and his favorite Uncle Frank being a 'gay man'. Aubrey finds solace in God’s word as he watches his daddy abuse his older brother, his mom and very often suffers the pains of bruises, black eyes and hurt pride. Tony tries hard to win the approval of his disinterested father.

Lonnie Beerman has written a book that deals with death, family abuse, homosexuality, bullying and love. From page one we the reader are caught up in the lives of these three families. The book is written with emotion, God and respectfulness towards difficult subject matter. It is impossible not to feel all of the ups and downs of each character.It was hard to put down until I reached the last page.I felt as though I knew each of the people in the book personally and cheered them on, felt their pain and rejoiced in the good things that happen to them.I highly recommend this book - it is a five star winner.

Karen P.

"Tears of the Phoenix" by Lonnie Beerman is the debut novel of a gifted writer. Beerman places his characters in the South during times of social and political change. He introduces us to three misfit boys. One has lost his father to war, another has a distant and uninvolved father and the third boy endures physical and emotional abuse from a father who beats his wife. One day in school, the three boys meet and their lives will be forever changed because they decide to care about one another.

There are many themes in this book. First and foremost is the theme of loss and death. That theme is accompanied by themes of inadequacy, brutality and personal sexual choice. The boys live at a time where political correctness is just beginning to become an issue and their stories are interwoven amidst their struggles to understand such issues and to come of age with all the trials and tribulations which accompany the decisions of adulthood.

The author is a wonderful story-teller and the reader will be mesmerized by his style. He tells his stories up front and in a personal manner. I loved the book but I did struggle with the many themes of the book. I could have done with one or two fewer issues to confront. In fact, there was enough food for thought for two novels within the covers of this book. It is well worth the read and I hope that Lonnie Beerman chooses to help us soon with another novel.

Anne B.

The setting for our story is a small rural town, where like most small towns of that era, it was very important not to be different from everyone else. Our story begins with Frankie, a young man whose father died in Vietnam making him different. The school yard had bullies and many of the kids were gleeful in encouraging them. Aubrey was held back a year a reason to make him an outcast. Tony was a Yankee and small for his age. A friendship alliance was born the day Aubrey whooped the bullies that were beating Tony.

Tears of the Phoenix transported me back to my later high school days in the 70s, it was a time of turbulence: with the lottery type drawing for who would go to Vietnam, Draft dodgers headed o the northern The country was in the midst of an oil crisis, my hair was cut in the Dorothy Hammil style, and bell bottoms were still popular. In our story we meet three young men and their parents. The author freely uses scripture to assist the reader in a less judgmental attitude. The true essence of this book is the relationship between fathers and sons. Aubrey’s father was abusive and never thought twice about giving his son a black eye.

Lonnie Beerman has successfully captured not only the era but the culture of small towns in the 1970s. His characters were easy to relate too. Beerman used flash backs to fill in parts of the story. Tears of the Phoenix is a coming of age tale that readers will not want to miss.

Alice D.

Fifth grader Frankie Albert and his mother Shelley have returned to her hometown of Haleyville, Tennessee after Frankie's father and Shelley's husband, Jack, is killed in Vietnam. Frankie is teased for being fatherless by older sixth graders who also taunt big, quiet Aubrey Denton, Frankie's classmate and another small boy called Tony. Mistake! Aubrey turns on the three bullies and beats them up. And thus begins this enchanting tale of small-town 1970's America where the three boys, Frankie, Aubrey and Tony become the closet of friends. Frankie’s mother Shelley is diagnosed with terminal cancer and Aubrey's and Tony's families, crusty old Ben from the town garage, the perceptive Baptist minister and other towns people draw close to her and to Frankie in their last month’s together. Aubrey's father, Buck, is a bully and beats his wife Sarah and Aubrey with no provocation. Then, Buck is shot and killed by Aubrey as the boy watches Buck beats Sarah almsot to death. Will this tale of entangled lives bring people together and will wrongs be righted in only a way that small town life can bring about?

"Tears of the Phoenix" is a moving, highly readable story of the people in a small town and how their lives touch each other in so many different ways. The Phoenix's tears can heal wounds, cure diseases, and stop someone from dying, and many tears flow from the highly believable characters eyes. Wounds are healed, diseases are not always cured and death cannot be stopped in "Tears of the Phoenix", but this is a novel that readers everywhere should read for its insights into human behavior. The plot moves slowly and conclusively to this novel's final pages and Frankie, Aubrey, Tony and the other characters will remain in readers' minds long after the story ends.