Hobo: Thomas Flowers

Good evening my lovely readers. Now, I have a confession, I’m in a book slump. If you’ve never experienced the pain of a book slump it is basically the inability to get into any book or having no inspiration to read. I know why this is, it’s because I am so god-damn tired. Since starting this job I have been working all day, I then bus home, swim at my local pool, cook dinner, go for a walk in the sunshine to inspire happy thoughts and then I collapse and sleep till the morning when I start all over again. I blame myself for not making enough time, however, when I do find myself sitting down to read I can’t concentrate and find myself reading sentences over and over again. Well, enough was enough. I flicked through my inbox and found a lovely email from Thomas Flowers asking me to read his short story. I thought, can it hurt, it’s short and it might inspire some inspiration. Well, I was enthralled, I read it in an hour; the best way to describe it was I devoured it. Yes, this book is dirty, grimy, horrible and thoughtful. If you’re a fan of horror or thrillers you need to get hold of this I promise you it will make you shiver.

Under the overpass, Beverly Marsh spied a lone hobo standing on the median at the intersection of Falcon road and Interstate 59. He held a sign saying, “Any bit will help,” but she ignored the sign, she ignored him, she ignored that maybe his eyes hungered for something other than her money. When the light flashed green, Beverly sped away, leaving the hobo behind in a cloud of exhaust. Two blocks later she slowed down. After thirty minutes, she forgot his face. In an hour, the entire event had washed away. And as she cuddled on her Chesterfield sofa with Penny, her well groomed poodle Maltese mix, Beverly Marsh had no idea her idyllic American dream would be coming to an end.

So, that doesn’t give to much away; the story revolves around Beverly, who like many of us I assume tends to ignore the homeless. It is true, so many of us do. The stigma that surrounds the homeless is rising; I recently watched a video that showed relatives dressing as homeless people and then their son or daughter, unaware, was instructed to walk past. None of the ten or so people realised that their very close relative was sat begging on the side of the street. If the message isn’t strong enough Flowers describes it as.. ‘the man abandoned his resting place and shuffled toward her. Beverly dared a glance. And for a moment they locked eyes. She could see his deep brown irises’ and the swollen blue and purple bags underneath. His cheeks were hollow. Afraid to take breaths through her nose, Beverly swore she could smell his stink of skunk and booze choking through the window.’ You can almost imagine her turning her nose up in disgust. Well, this very act of ignorance is going to change Beverly’s life forever. When a violent crime is reported she has no idea that karma is going to go full circle and bite her where it hurts most. I cannot go into any more detail because the story is incredibly short (only 22 pages) and I couldn’t bear to spoil it.

The first positive to speak about is the writing style; I think Flower’s is a newly budding author (I am sure he will correct me if I’m wrong) but you really cannot tell from his writing style. It flows beautifully and the descriptions are so gruesome and dirty that you cannot help but be drawn into the writing, Currently I review a lot of books from new authors and I do find that new authors appear to enjoy description more than established authors. Maybe it’s because it is still new and exciting but I absolutely love it! I mean read this; Smearing dirt or whatever else collected from lying in the street. The hobo smiled at her, exposing gaps where teeth had once resided, and those that remained were both yellow and nasty. He let his sign drop to the ground, moving his other hand up, cupping the tinted window, peering inside. Beverly reached for the locking mechanism, again. The bolts danced back and forth, unable to lock any further. The man opened his mouth wide, brandishing his black tongue, and fogged her window with a long drawn exhale. With one large finger he wrote, “Hungry” in the cloud.’ In the nicest way this writing has a dirty funk to it and I love it; really I do. Secondly I loved the way that the author has written the character Berverly as naive and slightly arrogant when the plot twists and we get exposed to the horror it makes it all the more horrible. Additionally I liked the way that the author only focused on the two characters; although additional characters are introduced and they are pivotal to the plot they don’t really take away from the main characters demise. 

Finally, I loved the message that is woven into the plot line it really made me think about how people react and care about homeless people. I must admit when writing my 101 things in 101 days I deliberately included ‘buy coffee for a homeless person’ because of the deeper meaning that is shown in this book. It really affected me and made me think about the way that I have reacted to homeless people. Overall the writing style is brilliantly mature and with great understanding of how to strike fear into the heart of the reader. I cannot wait to read more from this author in the future! 

hobo

6 Comments

  1. August 1, 2014 / 9:39 am

    Sorry to hear you’re in a book slump – but I’m glad you popped out of it too, at least for a short story. I hope your enthusiasm for life and literature overcomes the fatigue of working – remember it has to come from you, Lizzy, because it can’t come from anywhere else! Hang in there! We need you!

  2. August 1, 2014 / 4:05 pm

    I am in a book and writing slump. I start a new job on the 12th in retail. I hope I get back into the swing of things!

  3. August 1, 2014 / 10:53 pm

    I love the way you presented this story. I’m really intrigued!

  4. August 3, 2014 / 4:07 am

    There is no pain like a book slump!

  5. August 3, 2014 / 10:29 am

    This looks good. When I’m in a book slump (good phrase) I stick to short stories, and audio booksx

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