One and One Is One: The Beginning
by S. T. Byra

"While the second MP took notes to go with the ID pictures, Horace sat in the aisle listening in growing horror to the list of atrocities Grady had endured."

This is a harrowing novel of a boy’s journey from child to young man. It is filled with devastating setbacks that would stunt the growth of anyone’s psyche. Yet it is also an exploration of the power of self-determination and the recuperative might of love and respect.

Set just after the Second World War, the novel focuses on Grady, a boy growing up on a military base in England. While his mother and father are kind, loving people, circumstances lead to their son being horribly abused and suffering extensive damage to his emotions as well as his body. These damages haunt him as he grows into his teens. Then he loses his mom and dad when they are killed in an automobile accident. Still a minor, Grady is forced to go to the United States to live with his aunt—a sister that his deceased mother loathed. In Chicago, he’s subjected to abject cruelty but also finds love and support from individuals he’s never even met. As he approaches his eighteenth birthday, it remains to be seen whether his fate will be most affected by evil or good.

The author of this tale is an exceptional storyteller who infuses Grady’s chronicle with a compelling blend of helplessness and hopefulness. Her prose makes you feel what her protagonist is feeling in both the worst and best of times. She catches the intense character of the child and the young man with searing credibility. Additional players also seem like people you’ve known, both the good and the bad. This is a story that doesn’t necessarily end with this book, and those who read it will likely eagerly await its sequel.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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