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*****= An all-time favorite
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****Sky of Stone

A Memoir

by Homer Hickam

Reviewed January 31, 2002.
Delacorte Press, 2001.  365 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (B HIC).

Homer Hickam keeps surpassing himself.  This is another book by the author of Rocket Boys (on which the excellent movie October Sky was based) and The Coalwood Way.  This is a sequel to the other books, but you could enjoy it without having read the others.

Sky of Stone covers “Sonny” Hickam’s first summer after he has gone off to college.  He had hoped to go to Myrtle Beach to help his mother fix up a new house, but his mother has other ideas.  She insists that he go back to Coalwood because his father is going through a hard time and needs his company.

On the face of it, this seems ridiculous.  Sonny’s father barely notices he’s there.  However, after he wrecks his father’s car and starts working in the coal mine to pay for it, Sonny notices some interesting undercurrents.

This book explores family relationships in an intricate, understated way.  In the October Sky movie, Sonny’s father is something of a one-dimensional character.  In this book, we get a better idea of the complicated relationship between him and his son.  The story is interesting and well-crafted.  There’s even a mystery:  Was Sonny’s Dad responsible for the death of a miner?  How is Nate Dooley, an imbecilic old man who once saved Sonny’s life, involved?

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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