“Down Town” – Ferrol Sams

Let me begin this post by saying I absolutely adore Ferrol Sams. I consider him to be one of the premiere southern writers and I loved his trilogy sequencing the life of Porter Osborne from his wild childhood to his education (both intellectual and social…and *ahem* sexual) to his sad journey through World War 2. If you have not read them–Run with the Horsemen, Whisper of the River, and When All the World was Young–get to it now so we can talk.

Gosh, I loved those books so much that I could not get my hands on “Down Town” fast enough once I realized it was out there. By the way, I will use quotes and italics interchangeably for book titles. I know that I should use italics all the time, but it just seems to take too much time to do that versus using quotes…so, please forgive me.

Anyway, “Down Town” was a different kind of book because the characters are mostly transient and the main emphasis is on the town itself. That being said, I think Sams could have put a little more time into character development along the way as it is difficult to even figure out who the main voice is for quite some time. Now, I will give the caveat here that I read the first half of this book while excitedly traveling to Vail to see Dixon so it may be possible that I was distracted when all of the important character introductions were occurring.

That being said, I did not truly get into the book until I was nearly done…and my favorite part was the benediction! Of course, the typical Ferrol Sams-isms of his quick wit and ability to capture the essence of a southern town are still highly at play but I was disappointed in it having been so obsessed with his early work.

But as I was so wisely advised, Ferrol Sams is old and wrote three incredibly awesome books, give him a break. So I will end here with the opinion that it was definitely not his best work but was entertaining at times. Still read it and make your own opinion but know it might take a while to get into the story.


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