Too Big to Cry
By Graham Sclater ©2013
Too Big to Cry is fiction at its most potent, creating an electrical line of high-powered tension that delivers its energy throughout the book. The effects of the story are so profound, because they resonate with owners of small and medium sized businesses today, not only in the
Set in 2010, this story seems straight out of the nightly news media. It is relevant to consumers, job seekers, and small business owners alike. The demise of a single business stemming from customers who are unable to pay their bills removes the livelihood of dozens of people. These newly unemployed will have a hard job of finding other work in the economic downturn. Meanwhile, inside intrigue accelerates the corporate death as embezzlement and disloyalty drain the company assets.
The collapse of each small business and resultant loss of products, services, and jobs might lead to national economic collapse; but what of the business owner and his family?
The home front crumbles into devastation as if from a major earthquake event.
CEO Brian Chapman struggles to maintain his business and family, but tension fills his face and his voice becomes more strident by the day. Employees fairly screech at one another in anticipation of financial breakdown with its possible homelessness and starvation, even in a Western economy. The Apocalypse is coming. The threads of Mrs. Chapman’s sanity begin to unravel.
At the beginning of the book, we see the one influential CEO Chapman reduced to old clothing and a rattletrap car as he drives to the auction of his business assets. Inside, he finds scraps of his former life in photos and clippings fallen beneath furniture. Former employees have been smashing company vehicles in a rage, making threatening phone calls, and attacking his house.
We read the story of the decline of Brian’s family business and gasp at a runaway train of financial ruin that is unstoppable. Banks and other lenders actually fuel the decline of businesses with loan gimmicks. We wonder at these events, know they have occurred in several countries, yet sit in shock, reminded of the swath of their obliteration. Many individuals have committed suicide in the light of financial ruin that destroyed their families and companies. Scores more have become inmates in mental health facilitates, unable to cope with immense losses.
As things fall apart, Brian Chapman takes his dilapidated car and faithful dog on a journey to gain back his losses. He confronts bankers, embezzlers, hostile employees, false friends, and decompensating family members, determined to gain a measure of justice. At least his dog is still by his side and mentally fit, with no evil tricks held in waiting for his master. What man and dog can accomplish together may be surprising.
Too Big to Cry is a roller coaster experience that seems to be all quickly and powerfully downhill from a great height. It is difficult to close the book before reaching the end, because one does not want to be stuck on that sharp slope, but certainly wants to find an upswing and a safe landing. The story is too big and too true not to be read by all of us.
Too Big to Cry is available worldwide from Amazon, Kindle and signed copies in the
Review by Patty Inglish
Perhaps their love of music will help them but can they do anything in time?
First off, I’ll come clean and say that Graham Sclater is a writing friend of mine and we’ve even at one point in our careers shared a publisher. Nonetheless at the start of January when I read this, I was in the mood for some fun reading matter and this very much fitted the bill. Yes, it’s a children’s book but none the worse for it. I enjoyed meeting Hannah and Abi, their family and friends, and seeing them through their trials and tribulations as they try to work out how best to help their seriously ailing mother.
The book is not afraid to give us multiple viewpoints too, but it’s subtly done and in a manner which deepens and enhances the story. I particularly liked the fact that we get an occasional adult-eye view also, from Hannah’s and Abi’s father, and also from the father of their best friend, Rosie. This helps to cement the fact that the book does deal with the big issues of life, such as illness, the possibility of death, and the issues adults have in conveying bad news to children. I thought that was a brave choice and it worked.
There are also several interesting glimpses into the music world, a world the author knows very well as he works as a music publisher and songwriter, and was himself a touring musician for many years. I enjoyed the way modern music is a key aspect of the plot, as the two sisters embark on a mission to write an award-winning song in order to pay for their mother’s medical fees.
Speaking of the plot, it’s a little slow at the start but once it gets going, I was keen to know how Hannah and Abi resolved their problems, especially when faced with the deviousness of Rosie’s brother Josh. I was up in arms about him on their behalf (the cad! The bounder!), especially as the difficulties continued for some time, thus cleverly adding to the tension. That said, Josh is quite funny when we first meet him and this brotherly view of his sister and her friends made me smile:
One girl in the house was bad enough and he was glad to be rid of his younger sister for a few weeks. But no sooner had she gone, the very next day two more arrived uninvited.
Lovely, and so true!
I would have preferred however a greater emphasis on some of the key plot twists and felt we could well have spent more time on the developing relationship between Hannah, Abi and Rosie. I also thought we didn’t quite finish dealing with Josh at the end, though I appreciate it’s a children book and thus the emphasis will be different. That said, the resolution is neat and more than appropriate, with music unfailingly at its heart, and what could be nicer or more satisfying? It was fun, lively and gave me a great deal of pleasure.
Hatred is the Key - American/English Holocaust
August 2, 1812
Hatred is the Key
Heartfelt thanks to the Internet for connecting writers with audiences in the far flung corners of the world!
The web led me to
Even with at least one ancestor in the Siege of Fort Pitt and the later War of 1812-1814, I knew little of the latter war and less of Dartmoor Depot or
Dartmoor Depot took a bloody grasp of over 10,000 American prisoners of war: sailors and merchants; freemen, slaves and children. Those operating the prison were likely not much better off, particularly in the toll such operations took on these individuals mentally, inhabiting their nightmares for decades in the style those infesting the
Usual American histories of the War of 1812 show nothing of the Dartmoor Depot. Perhaps
Hatred is the Key is a work of engaging historical fiction that accurately portrays the aftermath of American losses on the
This was likely the wish of many captains like Captain Sleep and Captain Coombes in the seagoing war, but neither received their shared wish. Captain Shortland as well had no such reward in his assignment as commander of Dartmoor Depot, a
Read this book and you will know what most Americans and most people do not yet know about the horrors of the War of 1812-1814. Yet, despite circumstances, these prisoners held onto their personalities and many, to solid character as well. Read and you will see victory in the middle of hell.
HM Prison Dartmoor is an active men's prison in Princeton, on Dartmoor in
English restrictions and interference imposed against US-French trade resulted in an American declaration of war on
Neither British nor Americans lost or gained any lands in this war and they lost many lives as well as their peace of mind and parts of their souls; but the First Nations and Native Americans lost everything, including lands promised by the British. Freed slaves and some American boys as young as 13 or younger lost their lives in the prison as well. It was much like the Holocaust of a later war.
This novel describes seagoing battles in the
Americans slaves are as intelligent as their master, the sharp merchant Dylan Chipp, and more likeable, though Chipp is immensely entertaining as he is taken among POW'S from the ship on which he was just a passenger. Just as entertaining are scenes in the local farmers' and merchants’ market days in the prison yard with a variety of products and services obtainable from sellers' stalls. The gypsy-type healers have a stall as well and dispense medicine and cures, but tend to whoever summons them in an emergency. They are held in seemingly low esteem, but are well patronized by prisoners, the British military, dignitaries, and others. Physical suffering trumps prejudicial hatred. Additional scenes portray relationships of all sorts between Americans and British people and are particularly poignant and memorable.
Aside from some good lessons in the uselessness of hatred, Mr. Sclater’s book provides some good history of the prison, its construction and operation, the war, and the aftermath for all sides.
"It is a good read and would make a riveting film" -- Patty Inglish © 2010