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The Grass Sweeper God by [Howery, Doug]
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The Grass Sweeper God Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 252 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

About the Author

About the Author Just as in his essays, Mr. Howery’s novel, "The Grass Sweeper God" showcases familial and character driven stories about real people with real hardcore prejudices and passions (the American experience dotted with its flaws and beauty). This is only fitting since Mr. Howery's own experience parrallels the plot line. Real-life characters which represent the struggles of growing up gay in remote Appalachian during the volatile ‘60s. Mr. Howery lives with his companion of thirty years in Virginia where he is at work on his next novel.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3329 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1499783493
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: dhowerybook (11 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JMVE036
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,096,987 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The characters throughout the book are researched perfectly, and are written in such a wonderful way that you truly do fall in love with all them, and really feel everything that they do. The lives of so many different characters within the book are explored in such depth and is written so cleverly, with all of their stories perfectly entwining with one another. The strength of the characters shown in the book is truly inspiring for anyone who faces homophobic prejudice, as the characters are able to find light and faith in the twisted treatment and abuse that they face. They didn’t let their negative experiences with the narrow minded people in the 50s/60s destroy their beliefs.

This book is a true emotional roller coaster. You join the characters through so many highs and lows throughout. Every time they fall, your heart breaks for them and every time they pick themselves back up, you can't help but feel pride. You are able to fully connect with each and every one of the characters because of the fluent and in depth way that they are all written about.

This book touches upon the lives of so many homosexual men and women who were forced to hide who they were, or be beaten for not hiding it. So many people were made to feel disgusted at who they really were and this books shows that so clearly. The way in which homosexuals were treated back then was so sickening. And although people are slightly more accepting now, the battle that you fight alongside the characters in this book is still ongoing.

This book was truly heartbreaking to read, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants to understand what it was truly like to be a homosexual just a mere 60 years ago!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Grass Sweeper God is a beautiful novel about growing up 'different' in the 1950s and discovering the glitter and brightness of your dreams in a society that only had dark words and thoughts to offer you, or impose upon you. So, imagine growing up 'trapped inside the wrong body ... a young man who wanted to be a young woman...' It's not easy today, imagine sixty years ago! What happens to our protagonist, tenderly named Smiley, (and here's a note to all those who think they can 'cure' an LGBT person) was sent to a school for people with mental disability, because his 'handicap was internal, because what he felt on the inside didn't match the outside - he was trapped in the wrong body,' and sentenced by a bigoted society to being used as 'the bull's eye in the kids' cross-hairs... the biggest... excrement of 'em all, really.'

Yet, this 'excrement' feels that there must be better in this world, it is something he feels against all the world is saying, something that comes from the soul, so, 'For some reason, he imagined an angel's harp singing in his ear, then remembered a drum roll like the devil talking.' This duplicity, this contrast between what Smiley's reality is and what it could be, runs through the whole books.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow!!!! I'm not sure where to start on reviewing this book. there aren't enough words to give this book and its author the full justice it deserves. As an avid reader, I have read countless books, but there's always that one that stays with you, that permeates every cell in your body and stays there forever, a book that you know you will never forget. This is one of those books. The main character is that of a young boy, born into the wrong sex, confused yet headstrong and determined. In our modern world transgender is something that is widely accepted and although not understood by everyone, it is more and more accepted and embraced. Rewind to the 1950's and it was a whole different story. This book reiterates how far we have come, how much we have evolved and changed.
Doug Howery is an exceptionally talented author. He takes the reader on a journey that stirs up a multitude of emotions. This book had me crying, cringing and laughing like an idiot in places. The characters are well researched and the book flows beautifully. I will be recommending this book to everyone.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will stay with you long after you've finished it. 14 Aug. 2014
By Heather G - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
“The Grass Sweeper God” is a hard book to read, harder still to imagine someone living it. Ripped from the heart of what can only be an echo of personal experience and pain, this account speaks of unsinkable souls, lost identities and struggling to be who you are meant to be.

Being different in America has never been easy; being born different and in the wrong body in Solitude, Virginia in the 1950’s, is brutal. Smiley Hanlon lives day to day trapped in a Coal Miners town, buffeted by the Appalachian’s and generations of hate and mistrust. Any hint of being different, or being a ‘Freak’ is enough to ostracize you, pigeon hole you and make you a target for bullying – or worse. Backed by his best friend and protector, Lee Moore, Smiley made it through the days…until the night everything shattered. Chosen as the lead in a new town production called Dorothy of Oz Coal Camp, it seemed to be the beginning to acceptance and maybe even happiness, but the world is cruel and mankind even crueler. The triumph of the play decayed into a Coal Miners version of “Carrie” culminating in a tragic and horrific moment that would change both Smiley and Lee, forever.

This is their story, but it is also the story of so many others – both in this book and out of it. From the backwoods of Solitude to the sprawling cement gardens of New York City, this book spans 20 years and many lives. History comes alive with the recounting of the Stonewall Riots while the chilling fact that homosexuality was, and in many places still is, considered an abomination worthy of mental illness and subsequent shock treatment is disturbing and humbling. This tale breaks a heart, crushes a soul and somehow gives birth to a beautiful butterfly.

Doug Howery illustrates with words a pain few can comprehend, weaving this complex novel in scenes compelling and deep. There is a risk to his vision, words that leave little to the imagination – and honesty that begs the reader to look a bit deeper. This is an amazing book, one I highly recommend. Well written and poignant, no matter your genre preference – this novel should be in your library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important and touching book 2 Sept. 2014
By TFLReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read a lot and there aren't a lot of books that really touch me to the core, put me through a wide range of emotions and compel me to discuss them with others. This one did all of those things.

The Grass Sweeper God is a unique story set in an Appalachian coal miners town in the 1950's. The main character is a young boy named Smiley and he is treated as mentally disabled and an outcast because he is effeminate and likes to wear women's clothing to school. While he has the support of his best friend, Lee, during the daylight hours, things are not as supportive at home with his aunt and uncle that are raising him. Smiley is chosen to play the lead in an odd spin-off of the Wizard of Oz, called Oz Coal Camp. This doesn't sit well with many as it's a female lead and some tragic events come to pass as a result.

This was a powerful read for me. I'm gay and often thank my lucky stars that I was born and ""came out"" in a day and age when I am accepted by nearly everyone I meet. I am also so grateful for those who came before me who had to suffer the indignities and discrimination in order for the acceptance to be at the level that it is right now. Regardless, a book like this is an important one because I think that it illustrates a very real part of our history and one that we should never forget. Not to mention the fact that there are still places that this sort of discrimination exists today. Whatever can be said to bring light to hateful activities has my vote.

Social commentary aside, Doug Howery is a great writer and did a fantastic job with this material. He had me hooked and this is a book that nearly anyone can find an emotional connection to.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can see this book winning awards, really..... it's that good. 29 Aug. 2014
By Bibliophile - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Grass Sweeper God is a book that will stay with me for a long long time.

Smiley is a boy that has been born in the wrong body, in the 1950's and because he wears his aunt's blouse to school they put him in a class for slow kids. Being a female in a boys body is hard enough.... but to have to grow up in the 50's in a small rural town made it even worse. Smiley was always being bullied for being a "freak". Without his best friend Lee to stick up for him, things could have been worse. A teacher helps him get into a play based on the Wizard of Oz, playing Dorothy (to get this dressing like a girl thing out of his system). It seems almost that he might start being accepted more in that backward hateful town. Then things took a turn for the worse when something so awful and horrific happens that it changes Smiley forever.

This book spans about 20 years and follows not only Smiley and Lee but a myriad of other characters that were all incredibly developed and real.

This is a perfect book for today's day and age. With Gay marriage being legalized more and more, I believe everyone needs to learn about the history of the Gay Rights movement, and that is what this was for me.... an education. I had never heard of the Mattachine Society or the Stonewall riots. This puts you in the mind and heart of gay and transexual people... and what they went through, to come this far, will break your heart. This should be a book that is required reading in school, this is American history .... written in a way that will entertain while you learn about a time that is just as important as the Women's Rights movement, and the African American rights movement.

I would recommend this book to anyone. When I started reading this book, in the afternoon, I couldn't stop reading until I almost passed out on my kindle, and the first thing I did upon waking was grab my kindle to get back to the book. I laughed, I cried and I learned a lot. I can see this book winning awards, really..... it's that good.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Story 23 Oct. 2014
By KLD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the reviewers said that this is a hard book to read, and it really was hard for me to read. Not hard to read in a bad way, but in the way that it made me feel things I wasn't prepared to feel when I started this book. The social issues we face today regarding homosexuality are explosive, but I can't even begin to relate what we see today to what was going on in the 1950's and 1960's.

Mr. Howery weaves this story so beautifully that I can put myself in Smiley's shoes and it hurts to read and live through what he's going through. The whole book was an emotional roller coaster for me. The story is deep and thoughtful and extremely daring for the time it was set in. Throw in small town America and you've got a big problem for anyone who is even a little bit different.

As I read, I was taken back to my childhood. That made me relate even more to the trials that Smiley faced and the issues he and his friends faced. I grew up in small town America in a time not too much later than the setting of this book and I remember so well how anything different was feared and not accepted. There were few people with open minds and those who didn't fit the mold were treated really, really badly.

This book is much more than an emotional story. It's a well written tale that leaves nothing out and takes you to the exact place you need to be to be involved. It's not your typical story and that's a very good thing. I really enjoyed this book!
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Written and Heartbreaking! 1 April 2015
By Kevin Lintner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are not enough words in the English language that I can use to describe this heartbreaking tale of prejudice and hate that takes place in West Virginia in the 1950's. I have always prided myself in my Liberal beliefs and my acceptance of all humans as my equal. I have a child that is bisexual and when he came out to me he was shocked that I was not surprised. I raised him. It wasn't that hard to tell. While my children were growing up in Mid-Michigan, diversity was celebrated in the public schools, and participation in the National Day of Silence was encouraged. It wasn't until we migrated to the Deep South in 2009 were my eyes opened to the true nature of the repression of LGBT citizens in this country. I had always viewed the Matthew Shepard incident as isolated and extreme, but now I live in a part of the country where coming out can still have serious physically harmful ramifications.

Mr. Howery's novel brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. It is brilliantly written with strong, well defined characters and descriptions so vivid that you can easily picture all playing out in your mind's eye as you read the story. Howery expertly captures the feel and the dialect of the decade in which he writes and it is easy to tell that this is much more than just an important work of fiction. it is a deeply personal tale that youches our hearts while opening our eyes to horrors of bigotry and betrayal.
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