Genre: Southern Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction
The Boone Series is the story of a teenager on the fringes of society. He doesn’t have looks, or money, or education going for him, but he’s a decent human being trying to grow up with the odds stacked against him. He is often belittled or ignored, but like others out there on the edge of things, he has a story that deserves to be heard. In “Keeping Secrets,” we see and hear what is happening from Boone’s point of view, just as we do in the first two books in the series, “Pushing Back” and “Matching Scars.”
Boone is building a marginal but relatively comfortable life for himself and Frankie when two figures from his past reappear and life becomes irritating and complicated all over again. His old enemy Jerry and his aunt Claire are both making demands on him that he is either unwilling or unable to satisfy, and while he’s dealing with them, the old habits his daddy saddled him with continue to strain his relationship with Nancy.
Staying away from Jerry, keeping his aunt at a distance, and trying to reconcile with Nancy all at the same time is difficult enough, but Boone’s anger and impulsive nature make it almost impossible. He and Tiny are trying with limited success to carry on Gamaliel’s legacy, and some of the residents at the assisted living home are urging him to step out into the world and enjoy himself. Mark, who has become the kind of mentor Boone didn’t think he would ever have, offers what he can in the way of support and encouragement, but Boone’s own personal history is hard for him to escape. He’s continually torn between curiosity about the life he’s missing out on and his long-held anger and insecurity.
A crisis on Tiny’s farm not only rekindles Boone’s old fears that the secrets he’s kept for so long are about to come out, but also alters his friendship with Tiny, eliminating one common bond that was holding them together. What seems to be the final blow to his relationship with Nancy, the weight of memories that surround him, and the increasing pressure from all sides to make some kind of move, are all pushing Boone toward a decision he never thought he would make.