Booneville Retribution by S. Furlong-Bolliger

BOONEVILLE
Booneville Retribution by S. Furlong-Bolliger
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (8 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Larry’s a hardworking Vietnam vet who loves his country and is proud of his small town roots. He’s lived the better part of his life in Booneville, where Old Glory flies proudly over town square, and the Fourth of July is the biggest celebration of the year. Then, the closing of Halport Industries—the town’s economic lifeblood—devastates Booneville’s residents. Families are torn apart, small businesses dry up, and once lively neighborhoods become nothing but rows of abandoned houses. However, when the downturn of the economy threatens the town’s Fourth of July festival, Larry becomes determined to change things. Risking everything, he devises a plan to make the people forget about their problems and restore a sense of pride in their community and their country.

Booneville is slowly dying, and there’s nothing anyone can do to save it. Yet somehow Larry can’t bring himself to stop searching for way to pierce the hopelessness that blankets his community.

My first impression of Larry is that he is a man who saw terrible things during his tour of duty and he is now trying to heal those memories by living a quiet, predictable life. Even though we come from very different backgrounds he’s the sort of dependable, altruistic, civic-minded person I’d love to have as a next door neighbor.

I would have preferred to see either more time spent developing Dawn’s character or for the author to cut her out of the plot altogether. Almost all of Dawn’s scenes involve her scolding her husband for how he spends their dwindling savings, and in light of these recurring arguments I had trouble connecting with her character or understanding why these two are still married.

It was difficult to determine when this story was supposed to take place. The technology, social customs, and traditional gender roles of this piece feel like they are from the 1960s, but Larry’s description of himself as an old man who once served in Vietnam made me think Booneville Retribution was intended to be contemporary. Someone Larry’s age is stereotypically less likely to use computers and cell phones on a daily basis than younger adults, and neither Larry nor his friends strike me as the type of folks who enjoy making big changes in their lives without having a good reason to do so. Despite my initial confusion, then, writing Larry this way stays true to everything else I learned about his character and personality during the course of this tale.

Booneville Retribution made me feel nostalgic for a town I’ve never visited. This book is a good choices for readers who grew up in rural communities or who have ever been curious what it’s like to live in that sort of environment.

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