Monday, May 12, 2008

The Watermelon King by Daniel Wallace

If I were to write one of those cheesy quotes for the front of books, my quote for The Watermelon King would be "Storytelling as storytelling should be!"

I picked up this book thanks to a suggestion on Things Mean A Lot, a book blog I've been checking out lately. The blogger there had nothing but good things to say about Daniel Wallace's writing and storytelling ability. And with such a glowing review how could I resist?

One of the actual cheesy quotes on the back of this book compared Wallace to Roald Dahl and I have to say I agree. I grew up reading Roald Dahl and loving the obvious imagination he put into his books. It's obvious Daniel Wallace has the same big imagination.

The Watermelon King plays out in Ashland, Ala., the world's biggest watermelon patch. However, after the arrival of one Lucy Rider and her desire to stop the archaic practice of naming a watermelon king, the watermelons stopped growing in Ashland. See, the problem Lucy had with the town naming a watermelon king was that it was based on a legend that went something like this:

The fertility of our land and the fertility of our people have always been intertwined. Fertility to us is everything. And so it has been our belief that no boy shall reach manhood with his virginity intact. If this were to happen, the land would dry up and we would have no more watermelons. So each year at the watermelon festival the oldest male virgin in town is chosen as the watermelon king. He goes out to a field where he is greeted by three females who take a handful of watermelon seeds from a bag. Whichever girl ends up with the golden seed is the one he sleeps with that night.

But Lucy Rider, new to their town, will have none of that, so when the king is picked that year, she says she's had sex with him and she' pregnant with his child. Within the week all of the watermelon field in town wither up and die.

The ensuing story is told by her son, who comes to the town to learn about his mother and hopefully find out who his real father is, which could be difficult considering every man in town is keen on taking credit for the deed. This book is fairly short and so fun I'd recommend it to just about anyone.

P.S. I used a random numbers generator to pick the winner for my copy of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not and it goes to Julie P. at Booking Mama. Sorry to those of you who didn't win, but there will be plenty of other chances to win a free book here in the future. Thanks again to everyone who entered!


Heather Johnson said...

Odd but strangely compelling ... LOL! I've added it to my TBR list. :)

Nymeth said...

I'm very glad you enjoyed it, Becca. "Storytelling as it should be" might be cheesy, but what can one do when it's true?