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( Read E-pub ) ⚧ Safe from the Neighbors Û Luke May teaches local history his lifelong obsession at his old high school in Loring, Mississippi Having been mentored by his hometown newspaper s publisher, a survivor of the civil rights turmoil, he now passes these stories along to students far too young to have experienced or, in some cases, even heard about themBut when a long lost friend suddenly returns to Loring, where years ago her family had been shattered by an act of spectacular violence, Luke begins to realize that his connection with her runs deeper, both personally and politically, than he ever imagined Just children in , they had no sense of what was happening when James Meredith s enrollment at Ole Miss provoked a bloody new battle in the old Civil War, much less its impact on their fathers ambiguous friendshipOnce his daughters leave for Ole Miss, and with his marriage at an impasse, Luke s investigation of this decades old trauma soon spills over into his own life With his parents unwilling, or unable, to help him unlock secrets whose existence he d never suspected, this amateur historian is soon entirely consumed by an obscure past he can neither explain nor control a gripping reminder that the past isn t dead, or even past Once again Steve Yarbrough powerfully evokes as David Guterson put it not only historical grief but the grief of our own time Luke May is a likable high school history teacher leading an unremarkable life in Loring, Mississippi, a small town with a dubious history Luke s marriage is at a dead end and his parents health is deteriorating, but his own love of local history and his realistic compassion and understanding for the townspeople keep him going Into this inertia steps Maggie Sorrentino, a glamorous French teacher with a mysterious and tragic past, which Luke eventually learns is closely tied to his own family Luke May is a likable high school history teacher leading an unremarkable life in Loring, Mississippi, a small town with a dubious history Luke s marriage is at a dead end and his parents health is deteriorating, but his own love of local history and his realistic compassion and understanding for the townspeople keep him going Into this inertia steps Maggie Sorrentino, a glamorous French teacher with a mysterious and tragic past, which Luke eventually learns is closely tied to his own family s history His attempts to learnand unravel the events of a long past night lead Luke Maggie into an affair, whichas these things willeventually enmeshes farthan just the two lovers Publishers Weekly notes that Safe From the Neighbors is hobbled by the ordinariness of its characters and the situations they find themselves in I disagree with the use of hobbled The characters very ordinariness is what makes the story resonate No one is a hero, no one is entirely a villain The bombastic barbershop proprietor, the redneck members of Loring s Citizens Council, the overbearing, dismissive banker are all recognizable to anyone who has lived in a small farming town, particularly in the southern reaches of the US Luke s attempts to learnabout his fathera man farcomplex than his son ever suspectedalso ring clear and true I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it as a thoughtful, considered read Most of my GR Friends gave Steve Yarbrough s Safe From the Neighbors 4 stars Why not 5 4 or 5, 5 or 4 Perhaps this has a bit to do with the text that goes along with the ratings 4 I really liked it 5 it was amazing If I give this book 5 stars does that mean nothing else can touch it Once again I m conflicted by the use of stars but for me Mr Yarbrough I m a new fan deserves my 5.I heard Steve Yarbrough speak at Booktopia Vermont 2013 At first he remindedor a rock musician and i Most of my GR Friends gave Steve Yarbrough s Safe From the Neighbors 4 stars Why not 5 4 or 5, 5 or 4 Perhaps this has a bit to do with the text that goes along with the ratings 4 I really liked it 5 it was amazing If I give this book 5 stars does that mean nothing else can touch it Once again I m conflicted by the use of stars but for me Mr Yarbrough I m a new fan deserves my 5.I heard Steve Yarbrough speak at Booktopia Vermont 2013 At first he remindedor a rock musician and if you go to his website you ll see him playing the guitaror perhaps a football player Never would I have guessed author I kept hearing his name all weekend and everywhere I went people kept asking if I had read any of his books I hadn t After I heard Steve s talk I knew he d be on my list Safe From the Neighbors is a slow building, and excellently crafted story It is satisfying on so many levels Luke May, is a history teacher, in present day Loring, Mississippi When a girl from his past shows up to teach at the same high school as Luke, this spirals him backward in time where he re examines his growing up years and secrets left buried in the past What he thought he knew turns out to be something else entirely and changes the landscape of his life Like a dust storm, clouding the picture, the boy Luke knows little of the struggle that black student James Meredith endures to register at Ole Miss Luke s a kid and Civil Rights is not paramount in his mind but it is for the adults around him Safe From the Neighbors has questions to be answered, a murder andThough James Meredith is important to the story, there is so muchWhile it is a story of family, the father son relationship is explored beautifully in this story While it is a story about relationships, marriage is put under the microscope While it is a story of love, love is explored on many levels It s moody, intimate, and thought provoking My friends did not want to reveal too much and neither do I 4 or 5 stars really don t matter Just read Safe From the Neighbors.I don t think you ll be disappointed When books have reviews by acclaimed authors like Richard Russo, John Grisham, Jill McCorkle, and Tom Perrotta, I always begin with a wary and careful eye Is it really going to be that good In this case, a resounding YES Yarbrough seems to be an undiscovered gem in our group of US southern writers Perhaps not, but I had never heard of him before This book has a well developed story, almost mystery, and carefully drawn characters And the dialogue is amazing I won t say anything else, disco When books have reviews by acclaimed authors like Richard Russo, John Grisham, Jill McCorkle, and Tom Perrotta, I always begin with a wary and careful eye Is it really going to be that good In this case, a resounding YES Yarbrough seems to be an undiscovered gem in our group of US southern writers Perhaps not, but I had never heard of him before This book has a well developed story, almost mystery, and carefully drawn characters And the dialogue is amazing I won t say anything else, discover it for yourself and enjoy the journey My first book by Steve Yarbrough and he is fabulous Interesting subject about which, sadly, I am learning how much I do not know Civil rights Specifically an incident that occurred in 1962 on the campus at Oxford, Mississippi I never knew about the drama that erupted there over a boy trying to enroll in college The story goes back forth from current to the 1960s and includes racial violence as well as family drama marriages in crisis All told from the point of view of Luke May, a high sc My first book by Steve Yarbrough and he is fabulous Interesting subject about which, sadly, I am learning how much I do not know Civil rights Specifically an incident that occurred in 1962 on the campus at Oxford, Mississippi I never knew about the drama that erupted there over a boy trying to enroll in college The story goes back forth from current to the 1960s and includes racial violence as well as family drama marriages in crisis All told from the point of view of Luke May, a high school history teacher.I have at least twoSteve Yarbrough books queued I m looking forward to meeting him in person this spring