The Report On The One That Got Away

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When Terri Zimmerman returns to her childhood home, she does not realize that her life is about to change. She enters the Stag Club and meets Dinty Smith, the owner. As she laments her unfortunate predicaments, he listens with empathy and the two reminisce about their younger years on the banks of the Mississippi River. She also reconnects with Glen, a friend with ties to a prominent brewing family. His infamous grandmother, Anna, is the famous Lavender Lady, a socialite and legendary personality in the region. Rekindled friendships, budding romances, and new encounters meet in a whirlwind as the Great Flood of 1993 unleashes its fury along the Mississippi’s shores.

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I selected The One That Got Away, by Clint Hofer, because I also live in Missouri and felt I could relate to the unique local culture of the Show-Me State. I also remember the social, economical, and psychological effects that the Great Flood of 1993 has had on the people living in the region. I was not disappointed! I was expecting a typical plot-driven damsel in distress narrative, but this book is so much more.

The best part of the book was the descriptions that were encased in humor. The development of the characters, the setting, and the historical context are so captivating that one would not mind that there is relatively little plot in this book. The author’s ability to craft believable characters as products of their culture was exceptional. I could actually picture Dinty singing along to Floyd Cramer and Jerry Lee Lewis behind the wheel of his truck, see the “Nazi” decor of the mansion, and imagine the secluded cavern brewery which was “like a small Hooverville.” As the characters interact, the author’s clever use of whimsical comebacks and witty wisecracks keep the reader engaged and entertained. This creates both an ominous mood as Mother Nature prepares to devastate the area and a light-hearted connection to others that spans across generations. The very best part is the resolution of the story as metaphors and themes are revealed.

There is nothing about the narrative I did not like. The only comment I have is that the physical layout of the book was a little difficult to read at first. The PDF file I received had two columns on one page that were side by side. Usually, there is only one, allowing for easier scrolling. This layout was a bit cumbersome to navigate on devices. This critique, however, is a very minor and I consider this to be a mechanical flaw that did not take away from the snazzy humor, depth of descriptions, and characterization in the story. For these reasons, I give this book 4 out of 4 stars.

I recommend this book for all readers, as this story covers many genres. Those who are familiar with Missouri or the brewing industry will especially enjoy the complete immersion into these cultures. There are some adult themes on social issues and sporadic profanity, so it may not be suitable for younger readers. Additionally, it is well-edited and there are only a few minor errors in punctuation. 

07 July 2022

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