I have never read a book like this!
Title: Shaking the Sugar Tree
Author: Nick Wilgus
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Wise-cracking Wiley Cantrell is loud and roaringly outrageous—and he needs to be to keep his deeply religious neighbors and family in the Deep South at bay. A failed writer on food stamps, Wiley works a minimum wage job and barely manages to keep himself and his deaf son, Noah, more than a stone’s throw away from Dumpster-diving.
Noah was a meth baby and has the birth defects to prove it. He sees how lonely his father is and tries to help him find a boyfriend while Wiley struggles to help Noah have a relationship with his incarcerated mother, who believes the best way to feed a child is with a slingshot. No wonder Noah becomes Wiley’s biggest supporter when Boston nurse Jackson Ledbetter walks past Wiley’s cash register and sets his sugar tree on fire.
Jackson falls like a wet mule wearing concrete boots for Wiley’s sense of humor. And while Wiley represents much of the best of the South, Jackson is hiding a secret that could threaten this new family in the making.
When North meets South, the cultural misunderstandings are many, but so are the laughs, and the tears, but, as they say down in Dixie, it’s all good.
This book made me laugh more than any book I have ever read. It has sadness, angst, drama but most of all love even when it is not deserved. It has religious claustrophobia and will make you cringe and think ‘you can’t say that’ but they can and do. At the heart of it is a little boy and his dad who you will undoubtedly fall in love.
Noah is a meth baby whose mother left straight after his birth and then ended up in prison. He will melt your heart with his unconditional love for a woman who has no part in his life. The circumstances of his birth have left him deaf and with physical disabilities but don’t for one minute think that this will impede his joy of life.
Wiley is Noah’s dad and his whole world revolves around this little boy. He is eloquent and gentle as he struggles with poverty and the bigotry of being a gay man in Southern America. He refused to give up Noah to his grandparents when he was born and doesn’t regret it for a minute.
When Jackson comes into their life it is not an easy path for any of them but with determination and grit they may just make a family. Before that can happen we have to deal with Wiley’s family and this is where this book comes into its own. I have never known a book with so many strong characters. They will make you laugh, cry and want to punch them out all in a few pages but all the time Wiley deals with them in a gentle way and stays strong in his beliefs.
His mother is a strong lady who just wants him to get a girlfriend. His brother attends the Baptist church and cannot accept his sexuality. Whenever they get together the conversation always swings round to Wileys lifestyle and his penis. This small but important part of Wiley is the only thing they focus on and they completely miss what a beautiful person he is and how amazing his relationship is with his son.
The best character by far though is Papaw. He is the crazy they park on the porch. He is the most politically incorrect person I have ever come across BUT he is also the most accepting. I absolutely fell in love with him. His contribution to family conversations about Wiley being gay is the funniest thing I have ever read. He may not get his grandson but he certainly sees him.
This book is an absolute treat. It is not a fluffy romance but a gritty story of a man living with prejudice and chipping away a little at a time. It is about a man and his son struggling but believing that maybe they are entitled to a little bit of happiness and that their love is as important as everybody else’s.
I would like to thank Dreamspinner Press for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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