Thursday, December 20, 2012

Some More Love for Cheeseland

Earlier this year Eckhartz Press released Randy Richardson's excellent novel, "Cheeseland". We thought so much of it, we nominated it for several "best of the year" book competitions.

But of course, we're biased. We published it. Don't believe us. Here's what some unbiased readers have been saying and writing about Cheeseland. It's the #1 ranked coming of age novel at GoodReads thanks to comments like this...

"This is a fun coming-of-age novel with one of those archetypal "bad influence" friends from your adolescence. I really enjoyed this book. The protagonist is even-keeled Daniel McAllister, a guy who grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Chicago and then went on to better things. His best friend as an adolescent was Lance Parker -- one of those great, universal characters. We ALL had a Lance in our lives...the "bad influence" kid your parents didn't want around. Or maybe YOU were "Lance" when you were growing up...the guy who always had the crazy, irresponsible idea to do something you shouldn't do (in this case, go on a road trip to Wisconsin instead of going to your high school graduation ceremony). Somehow, we're never quite able to say "no" to the Lances in our lives, and in Cheeseland, Randy Richardson shows how that plays out over a lifetime. There are serious undertones to this novel, including some dark secrets that haunt Daniel and Lance from adolescence into adulthood. But there is also a lot of humor, especially on the aforementioned road trip, which hit close to home. I was a bit of a "Lance" in my day, and I remember all too well how a spur-of-the-moment idea like a road trip can lead to lots of fun -- and lots of trouble. You get both in Cheeseland. Bottom line: this is a very well written coming-of-age novel. Highly recommended.
---Mike O'Mary, author of "Wise Men and Other Stories" (5 stars out of 5)

"Being a Chicago native myself I loved all the Chicago references in this fine coming-of-age novel. From easy access to Pabst Blue Ribbon beer just over the Wisconsin border, where the drinking age was lower, to a rock concert in the heart of the Kettle Moraine, to mindless midnight runs up and down I-94 between the south suburb of Dolton (where people are known as „dolts“) to the airport – I almost felt this was my story! These were my songs. The main characters are bound by blood by a series of events that happened in high school, and the story is a kind of exorcism of their past, spanning three decades. The author sprinkles plenty of surprises in the story, so that I really did not know what was coming next at any juncture. I especially loved the character of Buck, a voice of reason and sanity for boys just trying to survive their childhood. If you liked Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, you’ll love Cheeseland, Chicago’s answer to that Texas classic. Highly recommended!"
---Frederick Brooke (5 stars out of 5)

"Cheeseland is a refreshing, entertaining, and profound bro-mance about choices one makes because of an unforgiving past... Without giving too much away, the ending plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy. It was the only way this kind of story could end both in fiction and in real life. The setting was a big hit with me. As a Chicagoan, I knew the highways, places, towns, and other details Mr. Richardson used. Especially liked his mention of Alpine Valley-many warm and hazy memories from my adolescence. I cannot help but compare Mr. Richardson’s work to Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River. A five star drama!"
---Dina Rae (5 stars out of 5)

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