Book of the Month – Jan 2017; Blues Lessons by Robert Hellanga
This Book of the Month is a nice novel by Robert Hellanga, which I re-read over the holidays.
Its a coming-of-age story and more! Hellenga’s third novel tracks the main character Martin Dijkserhuis from young adulthood at the family orchards in Appleton, MI, to his discovery of his “vocation” as a practicing bluesman.
In between, he squanders various options, including an invitation to attend his mother’s cherished almamater, the University of Chicago; a stint in the navy; and a career with the railroad postal service. The novel also tracks Martin’s relationship with the daughter of his father’s African American foreman who disappears along with her family when she becomes pregnant.
Hellenga creates a strong sense of place and proceeds at a leisurely pace. He often digresses, offering generally interesting insights into things as various as tree grafting, bowling a 300 game, spelling bees, and doing a dead person’s hair.
“Like some of the best blues, Blues Lessons is a poignant story about longing for lost love, traveling the country to find it, and appreciating it once it reappears.” —Acoustic Guitar
This book gives you a good feel for a person bitten by the blues/music bug and how it impacts (sometimes good, sometimes not so good) on his life.
I enjoyed this read and would recommend giving it a go! Available for sign out from the School Library.