The Book: Work Like Any Other, by Virginia Reeves
The Blurb: Roscoe T Martin set his sights on a new type of power spreading at the start of the twentieth century: electricity. It became his training, his life’s work. But when his wife, Marie, inherits her father’s failing farm, Roscoe has to give up his livelihood, with great cost to his sense of self, his marriage, and his family. Realizing he might lose them all if he doesn’t do something, he begins to use his skills as an electrician to siphon energy from the state, ushering in a period of bounty and happiness. Even the love of Marie and their child seem back within Roscoe’s grasp.Then a young man working for the state power company stumbles on Roscoe’s illegal lines and is electrocuted, and everything changes: Roscoe is arrested; the farm once more starts to deteriorate; and Marie abandons her husband, leaving him to face his twenty-year sentence alone. Now an unmoored Roscoe must carve out a place at Kilby Prison. Climbing the ranks of the incarcerated from dairy hand to librarian to “dog boy,” an inmate who helps the guards track down escapees, he is ultimately forced to ask himself once more if his work is just that, or if the price of his crimes—for him and his family—is greater than he ever let himself believe.
The Babble: Roscoe T Martin has three loves: his wife, his son and electricity- not necessarily in that order. When electricity betrays him, Roscoe finds his wife and son aren’t far behind and Ross must find a way to live with the loss. Moving from electrician to farmer, dairy farmer to ‘dog boy’ and full-circle back to electrician, Roscoe strives to earn the forgiveness of others while learning to forgive himself and his family. While the story is ethically complex, Ms. Reeves wastes not one word. Her writing is crisp, emotional and challenging without being maudlin or ingratiating. Roscoe is our hero, but also the enemy, along with every other character. Its real life set down on paper.
The Behest: I received this book free from NetGALLEY. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”