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Glenville Grown by A. John Ferenz

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This review is best delivered in a casual tone, to reflect that it’s as sincere as it is honest. When you start reading Glenville Grown by A. John Ferenz, it seems to be nothing more than a collection of randomly recalled, unremarkable moments from a young man’s life that were just blurted out with no rhyme or reason. However, reading on, you will find that Glenville Grown is not a collection of randomly recalled unremarkable moments from a man’s youth that were just scattered across the page. It’s quite the opposite, really. With a distinctly nostalgic, somewhat ‘Stand By Me’ feel, this book exudes something best described as irresistible. You get invested in this little kid’s life, and you feel like, maybe in another time and place, you guys could have been friends – and you start really relating to him, even though some of the things you’ve experienced in your life are vastly different from what he’s experienced in his.

As you follow John around Glenville, you also discover something else…the way that this book reads totally makes sense. John isn’t telling the story of his life as it happened – he’s telling it the way he remembers it. And, really, isn’t that what we all do? When we reflect upon our pasts, we don’t share memories in chronological order. That’s not how our minds work. We remember things in a scattered mess, where events from one day, year, or decade are called to mind alongside those from another, sometimes linked together by a simple shared element that means more to us than to anyone else in the world. That’s what John’s doing in this book. He’s remembering things that are personal – and he’s doing so like a person. With that in mind, Glenville Grown is certainly the kind of book that can be recommended to readers.