Pioneer, Go Home!Pioneer, Go Home! by Richard Powell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Part of my Florida collection –

Can’t ask for more from a book than a great story, great writing and a consistent tone, in this case, of humor. This is very different than other Richard Powell writings I’ve read before. His knack for humor will have me hunting for anything else he did in the same genre.

The characters are spot on and the setting is well thought out. The story is rather simple, but it’s the interaction of the characters that make this book shine. The first person narrative and dialogue is just incredible. It’s very hard to be consistent with humor. It’s darn hard work just to be funny. Powell achieves the effort with a rash of gold stars.

Making the effort even more difficult is that the narrative is written in a certain dialect throughout. His knowledge of certain terminology involving the dialect is impressive. Some might question how the characters could have come from rural New Jersey with such a dialect, but that’s how Hollywood has managed to stereotype Southerners.

This book was transformed into a film starring Elvis Presley. The adaption is amazingly faithful including the location of the shooting of the film in Yankeetown here in Florida. Practically the entire book is present in the film with most scenes that read straight from the book. The most dramatic change from book to film is swapping the characters coming from New Jersey to Georgia. I guess Hollywood can’t have people from New Jersey seem like bumpkins.

Powell based this book on a story involving a road opening and some problems associated with it. Something not new to Floridians. Powell does swap the Florida name for “Columbiana”, I guess not to make Floridians upset, though it’s clearly in Florida with mentions of “the Glades’ and the like. The book also well describes US 19 at the time.

This is a well written, hilarious book that should be read by anyone wanting a good time!

Botom line: i highly recommend it – IF you can find it! Check your local library.

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