EVERYWHERE I ROAM by Ben Lucien Burman


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I have liked everything Ben Burman has written (Steamboat Round the Bend, Blow for a Landing, Rooster Crows for Day)- until this came along. And -- to put it bluntly- I thought this dull, far-fetched, utterly lacking in the emotional values that might have made it a poignant human document. Captain Asa blames the encroachment of civilization and industry into his Tennessee stronghold for the restlessness of his motherless children, and uproots them when he starts on a search for the ""good old times"", with a rattletrap horse drawn trailer. They tried to earn their way selling hand painted statuettes and bedspreads in gaudy colors. They attempted to settle in a number of places where the father thought he glimpsed the good people and the good ways he sought. But always there was a fly in the ointment. Ula, out for a good time from the start, marries Pretty Boy, hanger on wastrel of a cheap gang- and Pretty Boy dogs their footsteps with trouble of his bringing. The raw-boned nag failed them. They acquired an ancient car- and Vergil was happy for a bit. They had an animal show by now, and took in a few sheckels in places that knew nothing better. But the cities defeated them. Ula's brief return to the fold ended when she won Pretty Boy's $40 in a dance marathon- but then she left with him for good. Vergil finally took to railroading. And eventually, after repeated experiments in small time- and failures- Ferni went off to Chicago with a nice enough red-head. And Captain Asa drifted back to Tennessee. An odyssey of poor whites -- their eyes and hopes turned backward -- their youthful aspirations caught by tinsel and trash. The possibilities of a grassroots classic are here, but the development is neither humorous nor ironic; and the sentiment is paper thin. Alice Caddy's line spots are quite charming. This is his first novel under Doubleday imprint, I think (Dutton had the earlier ones) and substantial promotion is planned.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1949
Publisher: Doubleday