I’ve completed another revision of this young-adult, coming-of-age novel set in a small town in Iowa. I’m getting the green light on this one from both my writers’ group, Ojai Scribes, and several test readers of the book.
Henry McQuiddy gets an unstamped note from his dead dad in their mailbox at the McGrawsland Memorial Trailer Park. His dad’s a war hero — silver star, and when Henry confronts his mom with the note she revises her story, saying his dad’s mind is gone making him dead to them.
Enraged, McQuiddy, as his best friend, Nicky Smithers, refers to him, starts a quest to find his dad. The two twelve-year-olds encounter the only homeless man to ever visit their little town, a war vet, wearing chainmail made of the pop tops of soda cans.
It takes McQuiddy longer than the reader, the town, and Nicky, to realize the man is his dad. His quest puts them in harms way several times, including Nicky’s mom’s fatal car accident, Nicky’s near drowning, and a murder blamed on his dad.
But under all of this, McQuiddy’s police sergeant mom, Henry, and Nicky find a glimmer of light in the chainmail man’s eyes and the guidance of their hearts takes them past their mind’s confusion about all of it to a place of tenderness and kindness in a meeting with Henry McQuiddy’s dad.