Title: The Right Kind of Fool
Author: Sarah Loudin Thomas
Major Themes: Appalachian Mountains, Deafness, Forgiveness, Murder Mysteries
Synopsis: With estranged parents and a controlling mother, can Loyal make the right decision about what he should do when he comes across a dead man one day?
I don’t remember why I picked The Right Kind of Fool at first, aside from the cover—which was intriguing. I’m fairly certain I didn’t get past “deaf boy” and “Appalachian Mountains” in the synopsis, because the rest of the book was a surprise—as I tend to like it. However, what struck me about this story when I first got into it was how well the deafness was displayed in here. This story felt the richer for the way it was handled—and I loved that. Though there are other points of view, that character definitely shines above the rest.
When he sees some friends of his running away from something, looking scared, Loyal decides to check things out. Though he can’t hear, he knows something bad has happened—and when he comes across a dead body, he realizes more is wrong than he thought possible at first. His only recourse? Ask his dad for help—but his dad has been estranged from the family for years; what will his reaction be, and how can he even communicate the problem to him, when his dad doesn’t understand his sign language?
Meanwhile, Creed has his own struggles. His guilt over what happened with his son Loyal still haunts him, and do what he can, he can’t get away from it. When he’s challenged to try to be a father again—and become the husband his wife needs—can he make the right decision, even when that goes against everything he’s done for the past few years?
I really enjoyed the mystery side of The Right Kind of Fool. I’m not one to guess who did what and why, but I love following along as the characters figure it out for me. The strained family relationships in here, and how different ones worked to fix that, were also quite interesting. And, as I’ve already discussed, the deafness also brought an interesting element to the story.
This is a good book. It didn’t quite make it to my top-of-the-year list—I did struggle with a few attitudes here and there, and almost felt like there was too much description around the married couple. I could easily see myself reading it again one day, though, simply because the characters were well-developed and the story intriguing. Recommended, if you enjoy historical fiction!
I was given a review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: This is a murder mystery, so naturally there are a lot of different discussions about that—how it happened, why it happened, etc. Nothing too detailed.
There is lying in ch. 1 and 18. “Goodness knew” or a variant appears several times, in ch. 1, 10, 12, and 24. “I’ll be dogged” appears in ch. 2 and 21. “In tarnation” appears in ch. 4, 9, and 11. “Blasted” is used in ch. 5. “Shoot” is used in ch. 7, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18, 22, 24, 29, 35, and 37. Phrases referring to the devil are used in ch. 8 and 11. “Doggone” is used in ch. 9, 10, 11, 15, and 24. “Hell” is used as a derogatory term in ch. 9. “God help me” is used in ch. 10. “For Pete’s sake” is used in ch. 10. “Heck” is used in ch. 14, 15, 31, and 35. Someone curses in ch. 11, 14, 17, and 29. “Durn” is used in ch. 15 and 26. “Son of a gun” is used in ch. 18. “Cuss” is used in ch. 18. “Blue blazes” is used in ch. 22.
In ch. 9, a man mentions he’s been seeing a woman who is separated from her husband. In ch. 19, a man comes across a woman who is pregnant out of wedlock, and a woman flirts with a man in ch. 20. There is a little romance with the married couple in the story—kissing in ch. 10, 26, 27 (more description than some), 30, 36, and 37; a little touching in ch. 12, 18, 32, and 36; and references to sharing a bed in ch. 13, 19, 26 (this one felt a bit too detailed for me), and a hint in the epilogue.
A man jabs someone in the chest in ch. 11, a man is slugged in the jaw in ch. 22 and 29. Men are shot in ch. 29 and 33, and someone dies in ch. 35.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults