Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Bonus FFB on Wednesday: Red Sky at Morning -- Richard Bradford

I first read Red Sky at Morning when it came out in paperback long ago.  As I've mentioned many times before, I'm a sucker for a coming-of-age novel, and this is one of my favorites.  When I saw a trade paperback copy for a buck the other day, I decided it was time to read it again, and I'm glad I did.  It's just as warm and funny and touching as ever.

The time is the 1940s, and WWII is raging.  The narrator is Josh Arnold, whose father is a ship builder in Mobile, Alabama.  Afraid that Mobile might be a German target, Mr. Arnold sends Josh and his mother to their second home in a small New Mexico mountain town and joins the navy.  Both Josh and his mother are familiar with the town from vacations there, but living there is different.  Josh makes some friend and enemies and adjusts quickly.  His mother does not; she begins drinking heavily and eventually cracks up.

The dialogue in the book is wonderfully funny all the way through, the descriptions of weather and the town and the people are all spot on, and the characters are varied and engaging.  If you like coming-of-age novels at all, this one is must reading.  Highly recommended.


Jeff Meyerson said...

I read this one after seeing the movie (Richard Thomas played Josh, just before he started THE WALTONS.) I liked it a lot too.

Note on the movie: this is a favorite of Jackie's. Richard Thomas. Desi Arnaz Jr. Cathy Burns. (This was a year or so after LAST SUMMER.) Richard Crenna. Claire Bloom. Harry Guardino. The great Strother Martin.

But years later we decided to watch it again, and someone had eviscerated it, adding a bad narration, editing and basically changing everything that made it so entertaining. So if you see it, and you should, make sure it is the original version.

Jeff Meyerson said...

OK, my library has an ebook copy and I couldn't resist downloading it to reread.

James Reasoner said...

I remember loving this book when I read it many years ago. The movie is very good, too, but the book is better. It's just a great coming-of-age yarn.

Henry Reiten said...

I first read this book in Sept.,1969, and loved it. Reread it in January,1989, and loved it. Reread it again in November, 2006, and hated it. My comments in my paperback after the last reading reads. "Not as good as remembered. All whites are idiots; all blacks and Mexicans are good and wise. And all Southern whites are completely stupid." Books never change, only the people who read them.

Unknown said...

Have to disagree about the white people. Certainly the narrator and his dad aren't stupid.

Mathew Paust said...

Like the movie, so I expect I'll like the book. Thanks for the reminder, Bill!