Let’s hear it for South Carolina writers! Recently I’ve had the opportunity and pleasure to read books by authors residing right here in the Palmetto State, Sandy Richardson and Roger Newman. Richardson is a retired educator who lives in SC’s Midlands. Newman, an M.D. living and working in the Low Country, has been selected as one of the “Best Doctors in America” by Woodward and White for the past two decades.
Since I know the importance of reviews to writers, I took a few minutes to review each of these books and am sharing them in the hopes that you’ll (1) read these books and/or (2) write one of your own.
His Mother, Sandy Richardson
I’ll never eat potatoes again without thinking of Kathryn Etters Lovatt’s mother-in-law, a Westerner who said she didn’t feel like she’d really eaten if she hadn’t eaten a potato every day. That was just one of dozens of things I learned about this remarkable woman and many others in His Mother, a delightful collection of essays and stories written about one of the trickiest and most important relationships in American culture, the one between a man’s mother and his wife. I say American culture because as Richardson points out in the introduction, other cultures such as China and Pakistan have different perspectives about this cornerstone relationship.
Regardless of race, social class, religion, educational level, or knowledge of which fork to use at a dinner party, the married women in His Mother learned to navigate the territory of this “complex and sacred union” with humor, grace, and awe. Their stories are entertaining, insightful, and well-written. Sometimes I find myself smiling as I think of lines like, “In my next life, I’m going to be a cowgirl.” The lesson behind “Isn’t it incredible that we both love blue?” is one I’ve already put into practice.
Bottom line: Great concept and wonderful stories.
Occam’s Razor, Roger Newman
A suspenseful page-turner that held my attention to the last page! Not only is Occam’s Razor spellbinding, it’s also educational. Rarely does a book give me heart palpitations wondering what’s going to happen next AND teach me about so many things about hospital politics, doctors’ daily rounds, drug rings, misused power, courage, and love. The icing on the cake was the mention of numerous sights in South Carolina’s “low country” and coast, especially Garden City.
Whether the incredible events in the novel could happen “in real life” doesn’t matter. What matters is that the reader gets caught up in the story and is zooming with Declan and Helene as they travel from Charleston to Garden City. What matters is that certain people (no spoilers here) get what they deserve and justice prevails. What matters is that the reader is both entertained and informed.
I love that these authors reside in South Carolina. What really impresses me is that they, like all writers, began their journey towards publication with an idea. Unlike many, however, they followed through with their work. Despite the agonizing process of revision, the fear of criticism, they pressed on.
What’s your story, and why are you waiting to tell it?