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Dave Knight is a wayward child growing up in a military family during the 1950s. His older sister wants to kill him but settles for regularly beating him up. Other siblings join in the mayhem while their alcoholic father contributes to the chaos with his unique approach to parenting.
As the Knight family moves from one army base to
the next, Dave develops a give-a-damn attitude that often leads to trouble. In
high school, he joins other delinquents in a series of escapades, some
dangerous, others funny, and a few that would be worthy of jail time should
they ever be caught.
After barely graduating, Dave is drafted into the army and sent to guard a nuclear weapons depot in Korea. There, he gets into trouble with his sergeant and tries to avoid dishonorable discharge.
This book seems to touch on a subject close to almost any reader. The only readers I would exclude would be children and people who do not tolerate violence, strong language, and other adult content. To give you an idea...I am an adult (well, most times) and while the previously mentioned subjects aren’t my favorite to read, I felt they blended in with the story and did not offend me.
Now about the story. As I said I felt it fit almost any reader and what I meant by that is most of us could identify with something in this book. It is true that those of us born in the 50’s to the 70’s might feel as if we are living in real time. But I think the issues are those that we’ve all either experienced or known someone who dealt with one of them. That makes this a very intense read. I might add if I had a criticism, this was an awfully long story. Not a slow story. Slow and long have quite different meanings. I’m not even sure what could be cut but it did seem a little long to me.
Glass made his characters so defined that I could see one of each of them in the small town I grew up in or those whom I have known since. It’s almost an autobiography for everyone. I’m taking license with the word autobiography, but I’m just certain there is something in this book that touches each person.
This seems to be a debut novel for William A. Glass. If so, it’s a heck of a start.
read an excerpt...
Upstairs all is pandemonium. Dan is furiously pounding on the bathroom door while inside Marie stares into the mirror applying eyeliner. She’s in the seventh grade now and has discovered that boys aren’t just for beating up. Meanwhile, Dave’s in the basement ironing a shirt. He gives it a couple finishing touches then slips it on while running up the stairs.
“Have you seen my book bag?” Melissa asks.
“Isn’t that it next to the door?” Dave replies.
The bus pulls up in front of the house, and Melissa grabs the book bag. Knight hands her a bacon-and-egg sandwich as she goes out. “Tell the driver to wait,” he asks. Then one by one the other Knight children rush out while the driver insistently honks his horn. Finally, Marie comes downstairs, gets her sandwich, and strolls down the front walk, arms full of accoutrements. As she climbs aboard, the enlisted men’s dependents in back sarcastically applaud. Marie ignores them, and once seated she uses a can of hairspray to laminate her teased tresses. She pays no heed to mounting protests from others on the bus who object to being gassed this early in the morning.about William A. Glass...
Bill is a retired business executive now living in South Carolina with his wife, Bettina. She teaches high school German while Bill coaches soccer at a small college. Their three sons, Alex, Robert, and Gordon, have all graduated from college and moved away to pursue careers.
For recreation, Bettina and Bill enjoy hiking and camping out. Usually, they take their dog, Scout, along. When the weather permits, Bill commutes to work on his motorcycle.
Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/As-Good-Can-Be/dp/1946005401/
more "personal stuff" about William A. Glass...
Q. Does this book have a special meaning to you? i.e. where you found the idea, its symbolism, its meaning, who you dedicated it to, what made you want to write it?
Why? Well, it’s complicated. For one thing, I wanted my three grown sons to know about my early life so they could understand me and my approach to parenting better. Also, I wanted to leave something behind other than a musty urn in a dusty tomb. Finally, writing this book was a way to immortalize my alcoholic but loveable father. But that’s not who As Good As Can Be is dedicated to. The book is dedicated to my long-suffering mother, Jacque Lansdale Glass.
Q. Where do you get your storylines from?
A. As Good As Can Be is autobiographical fiction. The storylines came from my experiences and those of family members and close friends. The narrative features an omniscient narrator and is written in the third person. That made it possible to include episodes from other peoples’ lives that tied into the main plot.
Q. Was this book easier or more difficult to write than others? Why?
A. I haven’t written any other books. This is the first one. In a way, that answers your question because, as I wrote and rewrote As Good As Can Be, I was doing on-the-job training as an author. That was difficult, but fun! So much so that I’ve written a sequel. It will be out next spring. The title is Knight’s Plutonian Shore.
Q. Do you only write one genre?
A. Yes, both As Good As Can Be and the sequel are historical fiction.
Q. Give us a picture of where you write, where you compose these words…is it Starbucks, a den, a garden…we want to know your inner sanctum?
A. I’m a college soccer coach, and much of the work on As Good As Can Be was done on our team bus while traveling to and from games. I also love to sit on the front porch of our little house in South Carolina and write when the weather and the gnats cooperate.
Q. And finally, of course…was there any specific event or circumstance that made you want to be a writer?
A. I was a voracious reader growing up. One of those kids who would read every word on the Frosted Flakes box at breakfast if nothing else was available. Early on, I began writing poems and short stories but veered away from that during my rebellious teenage years. It wasn’t until after I retired from a hectic business career and took up coaching that I got back to writing.
Thanks so much for featuring my novel, on Our Town! I’m proud of As Good As Can Be and appreciate you helping me get the word out.
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