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Wednesday
Aug292012

Review: Cheeseland

Cheeseland by Randy Richardson available in trade paperback from Eckhartz Press and in e-book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony

Reviewed by Mike O'Mary

Cheeseland is a fun coming-of-age novel with one of those archetypal "bad influence" friends from your adolescence. I really enjoyed this book.

The protagonist is even-keeled Daniel McAllister, a guy who grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Chicago and then went on to better things. His best friend as an adolescent was Lance Parker -- one of those great, universal characters. We ALL had a Lance in our lives...the "bad influence" kid your parents didn't want around. Or maybe YOU were "Lance" when you were growing up...the guy who always had the crazy, irresponsible idea to do something you shouldn't do (in this case, go on a road trip to Wisconsin instead of going to your high school graduation ceremony). Somehow, we're never quite able to say "no" to the Lances in our lives, and in Cheeseland, Randy Richardson shows how that plays out over a lifetime.

There are serious undertones to this novel, including some dark secrets that haunt Daniel and Lance from adolescence into adulthood. But there is also a lot of humor, especially on the aforementioned road trip, which hit close to home. I was a bit of a "Lance" in my day, and I remember all too well how a spur-of-the-moment idea like a road trip can lead to lots of fun -- and lots of trouble. You get both in Cheeseland.

Bottom line: this is a very well written coming-of-age novel. Highly recommended.

Mike O'Mary is the founder of Dream of Things Publishing and author of Wise Men and Other Stories 

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