“Imagine living in a world where you are born to fail.
Where dreams are shattered by outward forces before they are realized and allowed to set sail.”
–Amel River, “The Makings of a Fatherless Child”
Set in the early 2000s in Bear Ridge, Mississippi, an aging 13 year old Amel River fights a perpetual battle of suffering internally with an impulsive disorder and chronic anxiety, enduring a life without a father, surviving living amongst an unstable mother, and struggling with a small voice in his head that intrusively influences him to inflict punishment upon himself and encourages him to extinguish the lives of those he deems as “bad hearted people”.
Though a child, Amel desperately wants to experience three things in his young life: freedom of the small voice inside his head, freedom of his unstable environment, and freedom of his father’s regret. However, escaping the small voice inside his head is impossible, overcoming poverty and an unstable home at age 13 is improbable, but being disowned by his father was a decision decided by his father before Amel was born but with good reason as to why.
With the wisdom of a drunken stranger King Lee, the unspoken love of his best friend Sea’Sea, and the innocent eyes of his two year old nephew Javion, Amel embarks on an unknown journey of truth, understanding, and forgiveness, hoping that his journey will lead him to experience his ultimate definition of freedom, a life worth living.
I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Makings of a Fatherless Child is about Amel Rivers and basically his home life. How sometimes people don’t have a choice but to become what they were prophesied to be.
This was a confusing read for me and took longer than I liked. I thought this was going to be one of those stories where the MC would get out and be a better person and make something of himself but I think the author was trying to show that not everything works like that. Sometimes, if a hole is dug deep enough, you along with anyone else won’t find a way out no matter what.
Characters: I’ll say off the bat that I didn’t like Amel. We start off with when he was 13, but most of the book takes place while he’s 15 and ends when he’s 18. Amel was a character that I admired at first because he thought differently. He’d be yelled at, ridiculed and beat, and he never returned them in kind. But slowly I started seeing that he was going with the flow. He started believing that if a person thinks you’re a certain way, you should act like it. I’ll be honest and say that I thought this boy was insane. He had major anger issues and obviously needed help. There’s only so much you can blame on your deadbeat dad. To him, everyone was a liar, but I thought he just trusted too easily. The way he went about dealing with his problems was just…disgusting.
Baby sister, Amel’s mother was also insane. When things didn’t go her way, she’d automatically reach for the gun. She kept saying she was trying to raise her son to be a better man but I think she was part of the reason why he snapped in the first place.
Sea’Sea: I found her to be very needy but she threw people away so easily.
King Lee: This was the only character that made sense to me. He was the only one I kind of liked…and he was a drunk.
Likes: As messed up and confusing as this book was…it went somewhere. It wasn’t all insane people, there was a point I guess.
Dislikes: This book was confusing and messed up. Everyone had something against everyone else. I was annoyed for most of the book.
Overall Thoughts: I thought that Amel had a mental illness- he spoke to himself a lot and this voice he was hearing talked back. His mom seemed to have been suffering from the same thing. We learn later in the book that it runs in the family. This book took me forever to finish and I just wanted it to end.
Read: 10 May 2016
Publication Date: 20 December 2015
Publisher: House of Cotton Publishing
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Chandler Alexander