Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cummings
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This collection of short stories is loosely tied together by the life of Jason, growing up in the town of Harper's Ferry WV. He, his parents and two brothers live in a cabin (no phone, no tv) in the National Park area; they're definitely poor, but Jason's life doesn't feel like one of real deprivation.
Since the author is clearly writing what he knows, the time is in the 70s, with the language and attitudes of that time (I'm guessing the date based on a reference to "Fantasy Island" being on tv). Some of the stories will make you cringe, some will tug at your heartstrings. SPOILER: there's one about a cat (the titular story) that made me cry. It can take some time before you place who's who and what's going on, because these stories are so loosely related.
Copy provided by publisher.