In my home state of Ohio, we’re a little more than halfway through lawn-mowing season. From March through November, the grass typically needs at least one, sometimes two or three mows per week. Fortunately, I enjoy mowing the lawn, but then again, I have a riding lawnmower, unlike the protagonist of this Chuck Litka short story.
You probably know Chuck Litka’s fantasy and sci-fi adventure stories, many of which I’ve reviewed on this blog. This book is different: it’s a slice of life story, it’s targeted at a younger audience, and it’s very short.
The core of the story concerns a young boy named Roy Williams and his long-held desire to be old enough to mow his family’s lawn. But when he finally gets his chance, his own avant-garde philosophy of lawn care comes into conflict with hidebound traditions of the old guard. (i.e. his father.)
Interestingly, although my own views on lawn mowing align more with Roy’s dad, reading this book actually made me think about cutting the lawn in a different way, and even inspired me to try out some different patterns.
As with all of Litka’s books, it’s well-written, with plenty of wit and good-natured humor. While it’s a departure in many ways from most of his books, young Roy is still a classic Litka character: a likable person who, though no real fault of his own, comes into conflict with the authorities.
The book is available for free on Smashwords, so you should go check it out. If you’re a lawn-care enthusiast, it might give you some ideas! If you’re not, it might make you see things from a different perspective. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but it’s still worth seeing what it looks like.