Preorder: Ben Stempton's Boy by Ron Yates
The year is 1972, and Randy Walls, having just turned eighteen, is out of the foster care system. Haunted by memories of sexual abuse, he hitchhikes from Pittsburgh to rural Georgia in search of a blood relation. His quest for family is fulfilled in unexpected ways after he makes a deal with Ben Stempton, a gruff old pulp-wooder. Through events that follow, Randy experiences hard labor, funerals, jealousy, friendship, transgressive sex, and culture shock. He is pressured to take on the pulpwood business after old man Stempton dies in a gruesome accident. Episodes unfold until Randy finds himself holding a baby born to Ben Stempton’s daughter, Stacy, a woman he loves who is unfortunately married to his rival, an abusive redneck named Ty Ragsdale.
When Ty is found beheaded on the railroad tracks outside an area known for drug deals, gambling, and prostitution, Stacy becomes distraught and is swallowed up into Atlanta’s emerging drug culture. Randy, determined the baby will have what he never had—a father and stable home—steals little Benji, believing he is rightfully his. After convincing his work partner Buster, a light-skinned black youth of uncertain parentage, to join him and Benji on a trip away from the deep south, the trio breaks free from the strangling vines of past and present. Each is, in a sense, Ben Stempton's Boy. As they roll northward, enjoying the illusion of freedom, they have confidence in the bonds that have joined them together.
Publication Date:October 8, 2019
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