Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler

How I Heard About It:  One of my favorite pastimes is checking out the book section of our local newspaper, variety of magazines, and other online sources.  There are times when I see a new novel featured in several of these resources.  This was one such book.  The more I "research", the more I realized how much I wanted to read it.  It went to the top of my TBR list and was ordered from Amazon.  

What It Is About:  The story opens in the year 1962 at a Boy Scout camp in Wisconsin.  Nelson and Jonathan are both scouts attending camp.  Jonathan is at the "top" of the social ladder while Nelson is at the very bottom rung.  In some ways Jonathan is the only friend Nelson has at the camp.  Nelson becomes friends with the camp leader and becomes his "informant".  During a scouting "prank", Nelson becomes the brunt of a very cruel trick/prank.  This event stays with him for the rest of his life.  Because of the kindness of the camp leader, Nelson goes on to finish high school and college, and serves in the Vietnam War.  After the war, he returns and takes over running the Boy Scout camp where he once attended as a young lonely boy.  Jonathan goes on to become a successful, but unhappy married man.  His son and grandson end up attending the camp as he did.  Jonathan's  past "adventures" as a young boy at camp, and their experiences, will effect not only Nelson and Jonathan, but all those tied to these two men.  

What I Thought Of It:  It has been awhile since I've read a novel published for adults that was as well written as this story.  I love books like that that tell a solid story about strong characters and how their actions affect their lives and the people around them.  The writing was easy to follow, the story moved along at a beautiful pace, and "events" in the plot unfolded just when and where they were suppose to.  There were "perfect" and "flawed" characters which made for one terrific read.  After reading this new novel by Butler, I'm now going to move onto his first novel called Shotgun Lovesongs which I've heard is really great.  

Who Should Read It:  I recommend the book to all adult readers that enjoy a strong fictional tale of people who make mistakes, which follow them through their lives, and the amends they try to make to fix them.  It is also a fun read if you are from the Midwest because there are many references to locations in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.  I'm from the Twin Cities.  Happy reading!    

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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