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Billy Barnstorm – The Birch Lake Bomber
By Joel M. Vance
October 2011, Five Valleys Press, Missoula, MT 59801, http://joelvance.com/book-store/, paperback, 182 pp., $15.99, e-book $9.99.
“Billy Barnstorm” is a collection of short stories which is a continuation of “Grandma and the Buck Deer,” as the characters move into their teenage years.
Vance’s hero negotiates his teenage years with usually hilarious and sometimes moving encounters with various girlfriends. Along the way he interacts with characters in Birch Lake, Wis., including his nemesis Scuz Olson, the town drunk, his high school coach, his best friends and even the president of the United States. Famed humorist Pat McManus finds a current of humor running through everything Vance writes, and “Billy Barnstorm” is no exception.
“It’s a wonderful trip back in time, and by no means to a simpler time, at least for a boy coming of age. The ending is powerful and perfect,” McManus said.