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.
Coincidentally, I’m well into Chuck’s Sailing to Redoubt, and thoroughly enjoying it. This does look interesting. Most lawns where I live are now in the “golden” (i.e., brown) stage, as it hasn’t rained for more than a month and water is expensive. But in May, mowing 2 or even 3 times a week is normal. I actually use a push mower, meaning I’m the motor!
That sounds enchanting and captivating. Maybe Frank Capra could have made a film out of it too.
Thanks for another review which is broadening my horizons as to what is ‘going on out there’
I read this short story this morning. It was a fun one. Nice review!
Thanks! Glad you liked it. 🙂
Just to be clear, I hated mowing the lawn. I was too cheap to buy more than a push mower, and I had a lawn that took me a good hour to mow. I never did any of that fancy trimming around trees and stuff and mowed over the black walnuts as well. Making it worse was the fact that l lived at the time in a neighborhood where everyone seemed to have nothing better to do than mow their lawn several times a week. Or more. I refused to do it more than once a week — and only if it really needed it. I liked droughts. I did however mow in circles or curves like Roy, just to be different. The best thing I can say about mowing lawn was that it didn’t kill me, as I expected it to. Moved to a condo before it could. Thanks again for the review, Berthold.
Glad you liked the review! And yes, mowing the lawn with a push mower, even a powered one, is brutal!
You might want to read and review this one next:
-giggles- I had to laugh over this one. Most of the lawn mowing at my place is done by the two alpacas. I only get out the dinky electric/battery lawnmower when the grass gets away from the girls in late spring. I do /not/ enjoy mowing…at all. 🙂
Grats on the short story though, Chuck!
Mowing done by alpacas! I like this idea a lot. 😀