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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 10/2022
  • 979-8-9870004-0-3 B0BGRPF3Y9
  • 167 pages
  • $2.99
Steve Crown
Author
Mercy: A Novel
Steve Crown, author

Mercy is a satirical story of modern life and its struggles. Mercy, a boy born into a rich and loving family, is now living in a childhood dominated by poverty. But a poor, broken family isn’t his only enemy. In this debut novel, Steve Crown desperately appeals to our human conscience with a story that will startle us all.

Reviews
Crown’s fast-paced, satirical debut follows, with a cyclical structure and an eye for inequity, the life of a boy named Mercy from birth to his own fatherhood, all “at the mercy of life’s whims.” The exuberance that greats his birth, and his parents’ “master plan” for his success, soon ebb in the face of everyday life: Mercy’s mother immediately feels alone as she brings her baby boy home, and Mercy’s father’s priorities fall elsewhere. Childhood proves difficult and uncentered, as Mercy moves into his grandmother’s home and then shifts from parent to parent throughout his adolescence. The father’s restlessness upends Mercy’s life. As the boy faces a moving van, Crown writes, with pained insight, “Mercy found it remarkable how easy his life got uprooted, friendships destroyed, communities lost, and loneliness exaggerated.” Fortunately, teenage love will carry him through his teens and beyond.

For all its honesty about real human pain, Mercy amuses with Crown’s sharp bursts of humor. These are exemplified as Mercy’s mother starts her life over as a single parent: in a flailing attempt to get it all back on track, she searches via dial-up internet for a new career, and finds that even the open position of “Toilet Scrubber” demands “five years of experience or a Ph.D.” Tragedy eventually pushes Mercy to living with his jaded and narcissistic father, whose dicey past is flung into Mercy’s face at school.

Throughout, Crown is sensitive to the realities of poverty, the difficulties of escaping it, and its cross-generational impact. Also well handled is the often isolating nature of schooling, as bullying from students and unfair treatment from teachers create emotional potholes on Mercy’s path towards manhood. Still, loving moments sprout in unexpected places, tempering the raw emotion this story often stirs, especially in the touching final pages, which echo the promise of the opening—and offer hope that, this time, it might be sustained.

Takeaway: A touching satire of growing up rootless in an indifferent America.

Great for fans of: Growing Up Poor: A Literary Anthology, Justin Torres’s We the Animals.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 10/2022
  • 979-8-9870004-0-3 B0BGRPF3Y9
  • 167 pages
  • $2.99

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