Little Joe by Michael Glasscock III
Release Date - June 2013
Michael Glasscock III
Greenleaf Book Group Press
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
I admit to being pleasantly surprised by Little Joe, the first in the Round Rock series. Little Joe Stout and his parents are in the middle of a move when their car goes off the road. Little Joe's parents die, and he's left with minor injuries. Filled with grief and shock, Little Joe is sent to his maternal grandparents' farm.
At the farm, the boy's grandparents seem unprepared to raise a nine-year-old boy. The trio struggle with grief, new responsibilities, and forming an unconventional family unit. Things seem far harder on Little Joe who is thrown into a new world of rules unlike those he was raised to follow, chores that take up much of his free time, and grandparents who try their hardest but still seem not to have a clue on how to be a parent to a young boy.
I wasn't sure what to make of Little Joe as I started reading. It seemed to me that his grandparents needed to be a little more lenient when it came to all the rule changes - no radio before homework, eat this food even if it is much fattier than what your mother prepared, etc. Despite this, the trio forged an amazing relationship that kept me engrossed as I'd read Joe's next adventure and his grandparents' reactions and incorporation of a lesson to be learned from the behavior.
Before long, I'd finished the novel and was so happy I did. It captures the times nicely, and often I found myself reminiscing of my own grandmother who seemed very much like Frances. It's a feel-good story that creates a setting and mood that make you want to stay with the family for a long time.