The Death of Sweet Mister: A Novel

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9781611130010: The Death of Sweet Mister: A Novel
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Shug Akins is a lonely, overweight thirteen-year-old boy. His mother, Glenda, is the one person who loves him--she calls him Sweet Mister and attempts to boost his confidence and give him hope for his future. Shuggie's purported father, Red, is a brutal man with a short fuse who mocks and despises the boy. Into this small-town Ozarks mix comes Jimmy Vin Pearce, with his shiny green T-bird and his smart city clothes. When he and Glenda begin a torrid affair, a series of violent events is inevitably set in motion. The outcome will break your heart.

"This is Daniel Woodrell's third book set in the Ozarks and, like the other two, Give Us a Kiss and Tomato Red, it peels back the layers from lives already made bare by poverty and petty crime." --Otto Penzler, "Penzler Pick, 2001"

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Review:

Penzler Pick, June 2001: This is Daniel Woodrell's third book set in the Ozarks and, like the other two, Give Us a Kiss and Tomato Red, it peels back the layers from lives already made bare by poverty and petty crime, exposing the reader to the raw everyday hopes and fears of the poor and the helpless.

Told through the voice of an overweight 13-year-old boy named Shuggy Atkins, this is the story of Shug; the one person who loves him, his mother Glenda; and her boyfriend Red, a brutal and ignorant man. Red hates Shug but uses him to break into houses to steal drugs and anything else that can be sold. Glenda makes a meager living looking after the local cemetery and spends her time trying to keep Red amused and away from Shug, whom he loves to humiliate but whom she adores. Glenda is Shug's only champion. She calls him Sweet Mister as she continually boosts his confidence and promises a better life for him, if not for herself.

But when Glenda sees a beautiful, green Thunderbird with leather seats and its driver, Jimmy Vin Pearce, a chain of events is set into motion that will end in violence and bloodshed. Glenda must keep hidden from Red her infatuation with Jimmy Vin's money and fine clothes while she and Shug dream separate dreams of making a new life away from the violence.

Woodrell writes books that are small in volume but large in scope. It is impossible to put down this story of less than 200 pages until the final tragedy unfolds. --Otto Penzler

About the Author:

Daniel Woodrell is the author of six widely acclaimed novels, including Tomato Red, for which he received a PEN West fiction award in 1998.

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