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. “Pushing Back” is told from Boone’s point of view.
The first book in the series finds Boone at sixteen years old, in a family he can’t wait to escape. His father is an angry drunk who scrapes out a living doing farm work and takes out most of his frustration and rage on his family. Boone’s mother is a passive sort, unable or unwilling to stand up to her husband, and his sister is only seven, so he feels like he can’t leave. Then, in one weekend, his family disintegrates around him and Boone finds himself alone for the first time in his life.
Soon he begins to realize how much of his father’s anger and mistrust is also a part of him, and much of his struggle to become an adult revolves around trying to let go of most of what his daddy taught him. Circumstance brings him into contact with an elderly neighbor, and he and Gamaliel form an unlikely friendship. Gamaliel’s son-in-law has nothing but contempt for Boone and the conflicts with him bring out the worst in Boone’s character.
Boone’s low social standing and his inexperience with most kinds of relationships makes his growing involvement with Nancy, a former classmate, full of stumbles and missteps on his part and a determination on hers to make things work, even though she has her share of normal teenage insecurity as well.
A decent person at heart, Boone’s battle with his inner demons and his almost complete lack of knowledge about the adult world make his progress intermittent at best, full of setbacks often of his own making. He approaches maturity clumsily, but when he can figure out the right thing to do, he usually does it. Unfortunately for him and those around him, sometimes his anger and insecurity get in the way.