A Conversation with Brian Boger

January 17, 2014 


 

When I first picked up Southern Fate I thought because the author was an attorney it was just another legal thriller, but the opening didn’t neatly fit into the thriller formula.  I read on thinking perhaps it was a mystery but the first body didn’t show up until Chapter 9.  Obviously not a mystery, so I read on and suddenly it swept me up and blew me away like a hurricane.  The genre was literary and quintessentially Southern with elements of both mystery and thriller.  The novel centers on the inner story of a South Carolina attorney Frank Rhodes and the journey to his fate and fortune.

Introduced as a rather pathetic character Frank Rhodes is an accident prone klutz and a mediocre lawyer whose only passion is hunting and fishing.  The only thing making him worthy of attention is his extreme good looks.   Suddenly things change for Frank in a big way when he lands a windfall judgment instantly propelling him into the national spotlight.  On the road to money and fame he soon learns the bad news his wife is leaving him for another women.  And things get complicated quickly when a serial arsonists plaguing the city with one of the first victims being a member of Frank’s non-traditional family.  Meanwhile his brother teaches him an unorthodox method on how to get develop rhythm to thereby overcome his clumsiness, a lifelong affliction.

There is much going on in Southern Fate with numerous subplots.  The book is full unexpected plot twists and Boger takes the reader into areas past traditional Southern writers feared to tread.  He incorporates several popular motifs commonly found in Southern literature including sense of family and sense of place.  However we see some newer motifs developing. For example the non-traditional family and same sex relationships.  At a young age Frank’s father was killed by a burglar.  His mother and another single windowed mother with a son of similar age merged households to form a non-traditional family headed by two women.  While these women are heterosexual another non-traditional family with young children taking root when Frank’s wife leaves him for her same sex lover with young children.  These types of non-traditional modern family models are uncommon in traditional Southern literature but realistically capture today’s society.  Lesbian relationships have rarely been openly presented in such openly fashion and again capturing the dynamics of today’s modern families.

Another traditional motif is the sense of place.  Southerners are exceedingly proud of their region and as social historian Carl N. Degler once described the South as a region “where roots, place, family and tradition are the essence of identity”.   All of which are apparent in Southern Fate which in this jet age moves from Columbia to Charleston, New York, the Bahamas and Costa Rica.  However, make no mistake the stories beginning, middle, and end are deeply rooted in Columbia, and Boger does not spare the details of Columbia’s rich Civil War history recounting the tales of Sherman’s march.  Indeed the ghost of the War against Northern Aggression and the horrors Columbia faced under Sherman conjures up a deus ex machina villain the serial arsonist.  Like Bo Radley suddenly arriving on the scene and not a moment too soon.

This is perhaps the books one major shortcoming.  We never get to know the villain or his motivations only that he has targeted women belonging to the Daughters of the Confederacy in the name of Sherman.  There are no red herrings or clues to suggest anything about the character and his motivations.  The villain emerges in the end and disappears in a puff of fire and flames.  As a reader in the end I was left frustrated with too many questions as was Frank.  Perhaps this was the author’s intent.

As social issues and politics evolve with time so does a society’s literature, and Southern Fate stands as an exemplary work of modern Southern literature.   The author is a practicing attorney, the father of three.  He and his wife live in Columbia where he studied law.  He also holds a degree in English from the University of Virginia.  Brian Boger pushes the boundaries and thereby expands the conventional motifs placing him among the vanguard of new Southern writers.

I would dare suggest being on the future lookout for Brian Boger.  He expects to release his second title in 2014.  When asked about the project, he says “the working title is Champagne Friday.  It’s another legal thriller type book with some (surprise) literary themes like loss, redemption, vindication, and young men leaving their Bacchanalian Rite of Passage behind them for good women.  It’s a humdinger of a book developing strong female characters appealing to a broader female audience.  The women are cool.”

If the women are anything like the men of Southern Fate it should indeed be a humdinger.  Southern Fate is an incredibly delightful read, rich with local color and chocked with quirky characters.  Boger’s voice and style are a cross between John Gresham and John Brendt.   The state capital Columbia might want to get behind their adopted favorite son because Southern Fate could very well do for Columbia what Midnight In the Garden of Good Evil did for Savannah.

I Didn’t Know: A Conversation with Yvette Allen-Tatum

October 22, 2013 

banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1]Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children (a report can include multiple children). The United States has the worst record in the industrialized nation – losing five children every day due to abuse-related deaths.  Factor in Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), 9.3% of all child abuse reports are for children who have been sexually abused.

[2]Here are some quick facts: (studies by David Finkelhor, Director of Crimes Against Children Research Center)

  • 90% of sexually abused victims know their offenders;
  • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys  fall victim to child sexual abuse;
  • Self-reported studies show that 20% of adults females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
  • During a one-year period in the United States, 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized; and
  • Children are most vulnerable to child sexual abuse between the ages of 7 and 13.

In my new book, I Didn’t Know:  Identifying, Confronting, and Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse I reference 8 myths about child abuse:

Myth # 1

Normal-appearing, well educated, middle-class people don’t molest children.

 One of the public’s most dangerous assumptions is the belief that a person who both appears and acts normal could not be a child molester. Sex offenders are well aware of our propensity for making assumptions about private behavior from one’s public presentation. In fact, as recent reports of abuse by priests have shown, child molesters rely on our misassumptions to deliberately and carefully set and gain access to child victims.

Head_shot

Myth #2

People are too quick to believe an abuser is guilty, even if there is no supporting evidence.

 

In truth, people are too quick to believe that the accused is innocent, even if there is plenty of supporting evidence.

 Myth #3

Child molesters molest indiscriminately.

 Not everyone who comes in contact with a child molester will be abused. Although this finding may seem obvious, some interpret the fact that an abuser didn’t molest a particular child in their care to mean that those children who do allege abuse must be lying. In truth, sex offenders tend to carefully pick and set up their victims Thus while sex offenders may feel driven to molest children, they rarely do so indiscriminately or without a plan.

 Myth #4

Children who are being abused would immediately tell their parents.

 The fact victims often fail to disclose their abuse in a timely fashion is frequently used as evidence that an alleged victim’s story should be doubted. Research, however, shows that children who have been sexually assaulted often have considerable difficulty in revealing or discussing their abuse.jpg-book_cover

 Myth #5

Children who are being abused will show physical evidence of abuse.

 A lack of physical evidence of sexual assault is often cited as support that an alleged perpetrator must be innocent. However, research shows that abnormal genital findings are rare even in cases where the abuse has been proven. Some acts, like fondling and oral sex, leave no physical traces. Even injuries from penetration heal very quickly in young children and thus abnormal genital findings are not common, especially if the child is examined more than 48 hours after the abuse. In fact, even with proven penetration in up to 95% of cases, genital examinations will be essentially normal.

 Myth #6

Hundreds of innocent men and women have been falsely accused and sent to prison for molesting children.

 Over and over again, the media has raised the question whether America is in the midst of a hysterical overreaction to the perceived threat from pedophiles. Actual research, however, shows that, as a whole, our society continues to under-react and under-estimate the scope of the problem.

 Myth #7

If asked about abuse, children tend to exaggerate and are prone to making false accusations.

 Contrary to the popular misconception that children are prone to exaggerate sexual abuse, research shows that children often minimize and deny, rather than embellish what has happened to them.

 Myth #8

By using repeated interviews, therapists or police can easily implant false memories and cause false accusations among children of any age.

 Although research has consistently shown that children rarely confabulate about having been abused and false allegations have been found to be rare, the potential for false allegations continues to be an area of great concern in sex abuse cases.

I no longer refer to myself as a child abuse victim or a child abuse survivor.  I am a child abuse  thriver (term not in dictionary). In Hosea 4:6, it states (paraphrasing), “My people suffer for lack of knowledge.”  As it relates to the subject of Child Sexual Abuse, the United States does not have a clear  and accurate understanding of CSA.  Why?

•             Many do not know what Child Sexual Abuse is;

•             Some think CSA is limited to penetration;

•             People are uncomfortable talking about CSA; and

•             Many reject the facts and choose to believe the myths.

In short, you cannot conquer what your will not confront.  Therefore, it is imperative that we are able to Identify Child Sexual Abuse in order to Confront Child Sexual Abuse and thus, Overcome Child Sexual Abuse.

 


[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2012). Child Maltreatment 2011. Available from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/research-data-technology/statistics-research/child-maltreatment

[2]The National Center For Victims of Crime. (2012). Child Sexual Abuse Statistics. Available from  http://www.victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/child-sexual-abuse-statistics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's A Black Thang.com - Products & Gifts
One Stop Shopping For African American Products & Gifts