Sunday, January 11, 2015

{Blog Tour: Review} THE COTTAGE PARK PUZZLE by Richard M. Siddoway

ISBN #: 978-1462115624
Page Count: 208
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

When two teenagers are found beaten in the quiet town of Cottage Park and another boy is standing over them holding a baseball bat, it seems like a simple task to convict the perpetrator. There's just one problem: he's autistic.

This poignant tale of one town's journey to forgiveness and love will stay with you long after you've finished reading.

Mandy's Review:

I think it's fair to say that all authors write in the hopes of leaving something with the reader whether it be an emotion, an idea, or a renewed love for the written word. For me, after I was finished reading this novel, I was left with an emotion. Before I tell you that emotion, let's talk a little bit about the book. I'll try not to give too much away.

Corky is the autistic boy who is found holding the bat over the two beaten boys. These three were found behind an equipment shed near the football field of their Junior-Senior high school. Corky is so severly autistic that he cannot speak, so defending himself is something he's unable to do. We don't find out until later on how those three came to be behind the building.

The boy who "found" Corky standing over the two beaten boys is the principal's son. He notifies a teacher that an ambulance needs to be called because the two beaten boys are barely moving or breathing.

Edna, the mother of one of said beaten boys, is also a member of the founding family of Cottage Park. To say that she can get on her high horse and ride it through a situation come hell or high water is an understatement. Edna automatically rallies for Corky to be thrown in jail. When Corky is released to his parents, because of his severe autism and non-history of public violence, that just churns Edna's butter and she creates holy hell for the mayor and police chief.

I can understand Edna's anger and determination to have someone pay for her son being severely injured, I can. But she went off half-cocked blaming the first person she could. Her rage made her blind to the true justice that needed to be served. And people who throw their weight around because they think they're better than others simply because their family is the one that started a town ... well that just added to the emotion I felt while reading this novel.

What emotion was that, you ask? Anger. Yep, I was pissed off reading this novel and I'll tell you why. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, stood up for Corky. What made me absolutely livid was the fact that not even his own freakin' parents stood up for him. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? I don't care if Corky was dancing a rain dance over the boys while they were laying on the ground bleeding. If you are the parent of a child, why would you not take their side ... ESPECIALLY when they have no history of severe violence?! Right away, everyone assumed Corky did it. Not one person thought to themselves that it had to have been someone else. And, no, I'm not going to tell you whether or not Corky did do it because that doesn't matter. Someone should've been on Corky's side and they weren't.

Every time I think of this novel I start getting angry all over again, so I would say this is a success for the author because he got me to feel and react strongly to an emotion. Would I read this again? Honestly ... probably not.

*Side Note: I read and reviewed this book before our author chat with Richard Siddoway. During our discussion, he explained that autistic children emotionally fluctuate on a whim (my paraphrasing) so they could go from calm and peaceful to angry in a second. I've thought about that since our discussion and I still stand by what I wrote in my review. When you're a parent, why would you automatically assume the worst about your child? I had an issue with that when I read the novel and I still have an issue with that now.

*An ecopy of this novel was provided by the tour host in exchange for an honest review.

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