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Louisiana State University Press Essay

The book, I am one of you forever, by Fred Chappell was published in 1985 by the Louisiana State University Press. The book is a fictional novel narrated by a young boy named Jess. In the book, he speaks of his childhood in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. He lives with his mother, a high school teacher, and father, who farms. Also in the home is his grandmother and adopted older brother, Johnson. The story is set in the mid 1940’s. Throughout this story, many quirky uncles come to visit the family.

Each has a story to tell, and each his own presence of peculiarities. For instance, one uncle arrives with his coffin, which he had been making for years, and insisted on sleeping in every night. In this book, the narrator is attempting to become a man through the role models of his childish father and Johnson. Tragedy occurs when Johnson is killed in a training accident for the Army. Despite the elements of seriousness found throughout I am one of you forever, there is a sense of humor and air of lightness, even when dealing with the most sensitive of issues.

Seeing the world through the eyes of a young boy makes for a sense of excitement, and even some supernatural surprises, in which the reader is unaware of what is reality and what is truly in the imagination of the narrator. We get a sense of the time period through events such as World War 2. We also get a feeling of life in the Appalachian Mountains through passages which describe the standard dinner in the region, or places and events that occur in the area.

This story has the quality of Appalachian charm as well as the quest from childhood to adulthood as all youth experience. The time span of this story is roughly one year. It is very captivating and comical. In conclusion, I am one of you forever contains all of the fundamentals for a charming fictional novel. The era and area the book is set in makes it all the more charismatic. The book is well worth the read for informational as well as entertainment purposes.


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