Muddy (Charlotte) Rewis is quite a character of sorts. A feisty independent woman in her seventies who speaks her mind, Muddy figures her days are numbered, especially now that her husband, Claude, is gone. She wishes her children and grandchildren would visit her more often (which is ironic because they contact her almost daily). While her familial circumstances are not as stellar as she'd like, up to this point Muddy has lived a pretty decent life in the small town of Morven. Certainly the snarky old biddy has nothing to complain about compared to her and her children's acquaintances as well as others who have suffered horrific atrocities. Yet amid her concerns and ponderings, Muddy has no idea that changes are about to take place in her life—and all because of a stray bullet.
Reddick offers the best in Southern-Georgia storytelling in his latest novel. Inspired by a song with the same title, Drifting Too Far from Shore is so much more than a story of an elderly Georgian woman. Indeed, in many ways a white version of Tyler Perry's Madea, Muddy ruminates on the efficacy (or lack thereof) of current issues in society. Reddick gets his readers thinking, too, as Muddy covers topics such as interracial relationships, taxpayer dollars to support prison systems, Social Security, terrorism, immigration, religion, free will, the Golden Rule, lottery tickets, and education, just to mention a few.
While his audience gets caught up in Muddy's fictional life, Reddick weaves in factual reminders to several unconscionable acts against humanity. Dedicating each chapter to the memory of victims, Reddick goes from specific to broad as he zeroes in on local news familiar to Southern Georgians (i.e., lynchings, immigrant workers, mass graves) before drawing attention to the national and international scenes (i.e., Jonestown, 9/11).
Reviewed by Anita Lock
Drifting too far from the Shore
By Niles Reddick
Summertime Publications, Inc., $14.99, 202 pages, Format: Trade
Star Rating: 5 /
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