Downtown, Apr 2004, 13.00, 320 pp.
Though she knows that her ex-husband drug dealer Rick will soon be released on parole, Patty Taylor wants nothing to do with him. That part of her life is over and for that matter so is, she hopes, washing dishes or become an alcoholic piece of trash like her mother. Instead, she feels her life and that of her two year old son Willie has taken a turn for the better since Fred Larsen hired her as a female singer to help the Jonathan Brewer Quartet make money.
While the band categorizes Patty as cotton candy, she works hard to learn the business, especially jazz. When Rick is freed, he ignores that his parole agreement means remaining in the Kansas City area. He is coming for his wife. If she refuses to return to him, he will kill her to insure she knows her proper place. In Paducah, Kentucky, Rick and Patty meet for the final confrontation.
SHOUT DOWN THE MOON is a clever exciting drama that avoids the pitfalls of a simplistic Perils of Pauline tale by making the heroine seemingly so genuine on several levels. Not only does Patty want to make it for her son's sake so he does not have to grow up like her, she finds her confidence rising as she begins to understand jazz. Her relationship with Jonathan is deftly handled as important yet not overwhelming and less of an impact than that of she with Rick, who she once loved and wishes he would get his act together (just without her). This is an in-depth character study of a person who cannot totally shake off her past.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner