FableShop Bullpen Issue #6
The Cowchip Reader Volume 1 Review
The Cowchip Reader Volume 1 is the latest book in the Cowchip series. In short, it combines all of the Cowchip and RYOCorp tales into one money saving volume. Included:
– Management Decision
– The Cowchip Cafe
– Mr. Poppin’s Basement Improvement
– Whiney Willie
– Christmas In Cowchip
Approximately 427 pages.
Kindle Books – http://www.amazon.com/Cowchip-Reader-AL-ebook/dp/B00AJYYMF6
The stories in The Cowchip Reader Volume 1, in a nutshell, are a microcosm of the human experience as seen through the eyes of the characters who just happen to have a southern way of expressing themselves.
Also, and this is a bit difficult to explain, at the core, the stories are a bit tongue in cheek, a bit of satire.
Satire only works if it is based in truth. More, good satire walks a very narrow path. Veer off the path only a step or two and it becomes silly on the one hand or cruel on the other. At that point satire quickly lapses into intolerable reading.
Good satire is not only universal but timeless. A few examples I can think of are, Twin Peaks, The Munsters, and Hill Street Blues. Mark Twain was a master satirist. Mr. Bean is contemporary satire. Saturday Night Live began as good satire but quickly degenerated into lame meanness. You get the point.
The characters in the Cowchip Alabama and RYO Corporation stories and novels are simple folks, most of them, placed into extraordinary situations which tests them. It is when they are under stress that you find out what they are really made of. Some rise to the occasion, and some fall.
In the world of Cowchip and the RYO Corporation, the author, my humble self, exposes pieces of the characters that they probably would rather keep hidden. The satirical element comes to the fore when the reader says, “Yeah, I know someone like that. Heck, I AM like that!”
The Cowchip Reader Volume 1 succeeds on two levels. First, southerners will feel right at home with the dialog. Secondly, yankees will be amused by it. Some will even use it for study material to attempt to get deeper into the mind of the typical southerner in a sociological sense.
Studying the characters in the Cowchip and RYO stories is a dicey proposition because while in one sense, the portrayals are accurate, in another, they lapse into serious satire. The wise reader needs to study the complete series to know when the characters are kidding and when they are not.
One thing the average reader may wonder about is how one guy could come up with all the marvelous things in the series books. Also, a number of beginning writers may be curious to know how it works.
I don’t think it is letting the cat out of the bag to let you in on the secret of writing about Cowchip. The secret is that I report, I don’t write. I simply strive to describe what the characters are seeing and doing at a given time. I also tell you what they are thinking. But have NO doubt… The characters are just going about their business. Like Norm’s angel described in Christmas In Cowchip, I’m just floating around taking notes. They are doing all the work and having all the hijinks. I confess it is a very guilty pleasure if mine, sneaking around and telling on them. I suppose I am just a big old gossip.
In case Cowchip Alabama sounds like a place you would like to visit, or perhaps even live, be sure to contact me before you come. I know most of the business folks in town and I can get you some hefty discounts. Of course, there would be a small charge, payable in advance. Likewise, if you are thinking about relocating, you’ll also want to speak with me. I know the mayor and I can get you a discount on the immigration taxes. Looking to hear from you. Ok?
In the meantime, have ALL the fun reading THE COWCHIP READER VOLUME 1.