Clark's Eye on Books

Clark I reviews books and sometimes writes them!

Sometimes we’re always real same-same
Author: Mattox Roesch
ISBN: 978-1-932961-87-4, Pages: 336, $15.95, Publication Date: September, 2009, Trade Paperback Original, by: Unbridled Books

Mattox Roesch’s first novel “Sometimes Were Always Real Same-Same” places the reader into summer in Alaska. Everything is not green and rosy for Cesar, but it is timely for this Los Angeles youngster to be up-rooted from his neighborhood, as he has turned a gang-banger. When Cesar’s brother becomes an inmate in the penal system, his mother takes him from a poor environment in order keep him out of trouble into another poor environment of poverty in the small community of Unalakleet. His mother grew up in this isolated society of Eskimos where many are related. Once a day a plane arrives with the necessities of life and the community is dependant upon it for all their needs.

Roesch’s writing gets better as the novel develops its own voice. The first couple of chapters may not be the best way to encourage the reader to continue, but when the story unfolds, it becomes a very interesting tale about life in one of the states that few will visit because of its distance from the continental United States.

Sarah Palin did one great service for her native state and that was to arouse interest in Alaskan life. However, many things in the Alaskan communities have remained the “same-same”.

Unalakleet is a village where the main industry is fishing. A job for Cesar is found by his cousin who is a troubled college drop-out with mental problems that lead him to a suicide attempt. The job is that of counting and identifying salmon and other species of fish. As a city boy, Cesar has many episodes of conflict with his employer as he cannot identify many of the fish. When his cousin Go-Go stands up for him, takes the blame, they both lose their jobs.

Interpersonal relationships experienced by Cesar are not unfamiliar, but the experiences point out that life in Alaska is far more difficult than in the lower 48. Go-Go’s treatment in a mental hospital is highlighted by the cost of travel and the hundreds of miles it takes to visit him. A pizza-parlor is opened because of the urging by Go-Go. He convinced the proprietors they could be successful and they could be supported by sales in Unalakleet. It soon develops that the business cannot be conducted strictly in their town. They are then forced to air-deliver pizza to other communities which makes their business thrive.

The author moved from Minneapolis to Unalakleet and through his research brings realism to the Alaskan culture. This book is recommended for those who want to explore other elements of our society and learn how positive changes can promote good citizenship.

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