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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
The children of the 1950s were a generation whose parents were survivors: survivors of the Depression and the Second World War. Their parents knew how to make do with what they had and how to defend what was theirs. The children mirrored their parents. So, when two boys, Tim and Hect, take weapons and plan an onslaught, as boys will do, on a deserted cabin in a junkyard, they are mimicking the battles their parents fought. But, when things go wrong and they manage to blow up the cabin, the boys are on the run, afraid that they’re being sought by the law for murder. And worse. The boys follow a journey south from Texas, confronting one adventure after another, avoiding the law for fear of what reprisals await. Tim, always the joker, continually discovers that the joke’s really on him.
W.H. Buzzard’s novel, There Is A Generation, has painted a credible picture of life for children in 1950s Texas. The author has an incredible talent in describing each scene and every scenario. The reader can almost feel the intensity of the Texas sun in passages like: “The West Texas sun hammered our heads like nails. Heat off the metal truck body felt hot as off a stove top.” And the ingenious mindset of two young boys creating their own adventure: “We’re in a skirmish here, soldier. This ain’t no child’s play. Them cutthroats would die happy as eating pie if they could kill us, so you get serious.” The fascination with the wasps' nest, “big as a dinner plate”, is given considerable detail. All this happens in the first chapter, setting the stage for the plot to follow.
The dialogue between the boys distinguishes one from the other. Tim, from an affluent family, speaks with clarity, while Hect, a dropout from a poor family, speaks in the Texan vernacular. The entire novel begs one to compare it to another great boys’ adventure involving two unlikely friends, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Set in a similar pivotal generation, Tim and Hect make a comely pair of adventurers, not so different from Mark Twain’s pair. A rollicking read.