On the heels of the blog entry yesterday and again today by Levi Montgomery on self publishing, I was reminded that I had yet to make public my opinion of Levi’s novel Cursing the Cougar, which just happens to be self-published.
The story was a slice of Americana Pie, which naturally appeals to me, centered on a tow truck driving single dad and his intelligent, pretty, coming of age daughter. I loved the commonality they shared in the love of old trucks and the tools and work it takes to fix them, a believable connection, and the conflict of each trying to find their own companionship with and without each others’ help. It served up well and I enjoyed and could relate to so much of the story.
Levi writes in a style that draws you in with a flowing stream of detail that sets the scene and lets the mind relax and enjoy the story unfolding. I easily get lost in too much detail and settings usually become a disjointed array of backdrops that rarely have anything to do with what the author intended and ones that would make anyone other than Dr. Seuss dizzy. Yet with Levi’s writing, I always felt I saw what he wanted me to see but never overwhelmed. The story drew me from chapter to chapter and kept the pages turning with curiosity and interest in the well developed characters and their storylines.
About the three quarter mark, however, Levi had teased me enough with what I knew had to be coming towards the end of the book that I felt the story drag just a bit. I wanted to get to the finale. When it did finally come, it was extraordinarily well set-up and the action perfect. I found myself yelling in my own head “No! Don’t get in the shower!” “Don’t go in there!”, etc. Being led and emotionally manipulated as a reader should be in a thriller ending.
My only complaint of the overall story is that I wanted more of that story. I felt like, going back to the feelings of young love, like that first date where everything is going great, the dinner went well, the conversation is perfect, laughing and joking, each anticipating that moment on the front porch and then, for some inexplicable reason, someone starts in on one more story of how so and so did such and such in History class only then to now have to rush to finish as the porch light flickers on and off and the date is quickly cut short with a solitary, hurried, good night kiss. The kiss was great and all but the evening ends with a wish of having spent more time with the last part and less with the preliminaries.
Such is how I felt with this story. It was great and I look forward to the next one I read from Levi, but man I wish the story had spent more time on the “wow” ending. But hey! Always leave them wanting more, right? The true test of a great story, however, comes after the book is closed and sitting on the shelf. Do I find myself thinking about it?
The answer for this story is yes. Placed with other books in my office, I find my eyes drifting onto the book’s spine and reading the title several times a day. I know what it means and I find its meaning apt in many situations throughout the day. The underlying message resonated with me and meant something beyond the setting and characters and the reading candy that make a book enjoyable. After reading the book, I found a way to apply its meaning to me, to better my approach to life. That makes a great book in my world.
Enjoyable, well written and life applicable, Cursing the Cougar is a book I not only recommend but I am thankful, yes actually thankful, that I spent the time reading. It is available from the author’s website Levimontgomery.com as well as Amazon.com. I look forward to exploring Levi’s other titles, such as his latest released title Stubbs and Bernadette, in the near future.