Pure Trash: The Story
By Bette A. Stevens
What an incredible excursion into the life of the 1950’s emanates from this bittersweet story. One can taste the icy cokes in summer, bike rides and falls from them; fishing in clear streams. The poor, not so poor and even rich kids relished each day as a new adventure.
What author Stevens does so well is display the deep love between two brothers. Nine-year-old Shawn takes responsibility for six-year-old Willie, who, in turn, fully respects his older brother.
These were years when kids were bullied, had none of today’s electronic wonders, and were held responsible for daily chores. Yet when chores were completed, they were free to go outside and experience a carefree life lost to today’s children.
Shawn and Willie were ‘dirt’ poor with a dysfunctional alcoholic father and a mother struggling for their survival. But there seems to be no self-pity among the boys. It was what it was and, if anything, they became stronger for it. They accepted the bad times and reveled in the good—‘making lemonade from lemons.’ I believe one has to have lived during this era to fully understand it, but the author does an excellent job in giving young and older readers a true sense of the ambiance of the times.
Would these two boys grow up to be bullies, or substance abusers due to their less than exemplary lives? Or enjoy the positives, learn from the difficult experiences in their young lives and determine to forge their own futures. This is a well-written Americana short story that one wishes would not end. In a way it doesn’t. Author Bette A. Steven’s exceptional book, ‘Dog Bone Soup,’ follows up with Shawn and Willie’s lives. Anyone enjoying the prequel ‘Pure Trash: The Story’ will want to read this book as well.