Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter

I just finished a pretty decent read called, Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter.  This book was originally published in 1964 and reprinted with a new introduction in 2009.  The 2009 edition is 308 pages.

I’ll admit that I haven’t read too many prison novels, in fact, this would be my first.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, either.  Thoughts of crazy jail-fights, rapes, tatoos, gangs, and the like were definitely not far from my mind when I picked the book out, and I’m still not really sure why I decided to go ahead and read it.

That being said, however, I’m glad I did.  It was a truly touching, and very suprising book in some places.  Carpenter does a really good job of getting the reader to empathize with Jack, and I think too, that by the middle of the novel we also understand a little bit of how he’s gotten where he is.

A surprising twist came from me when Carpenter leads us through Jack’s relationship with Billy.  The lead-up when they were both kids, finding each other again at the prison, and then eventually becoming lovers of a sort.  Even as a gay man, I felt that Carpenter made the reader feel Jack’s discomfort and anguish through it all; the dealing with it, the climactic point where Billy demands that Jack admit his love for him, and then the end of their relationship.

The end of the novel was equally well done.  Carpenter leads us full circle, from the making of the criminal to the reformation of the criminal.

So if you’re wanting a decent read, check it out!

until next time,

Jim

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