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The Front Porch Prophet [Hardcover]

By Raymond L. Atkins (Author)
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Item description for The Front Porch Prophet by Raymond L. Atkins...

What do a trigger-happy bootlegger with pancreatic cancer, an alcoholic helicopter pilot who is afraid to fly, and a dead guy with his feet in a camp stove have in common? What are the similarities between a fire department that cannot put out fires, a policeman who has a historic cabin fall on him from out of the sky, and an entire family dedicated to a variety of deceased authors? Where can you find a war hero named Termite with a long knife stuck in his liver, a cook named Hoghead who makes the world's worst coffee, and a supervisor named Pillsbury who nearly gets hung by his employees? Sequoyah, Georgia is the answer to all three questions. They arise from the relationship between A. J. Longstreet and his best friend since childhood, Eugene Purdue. After a parting of ways due to Eugene's inability to accept the constraints of adulthood, he reenters A.J.'s life with terminal cancer and the dilemma of executing a mercy killing when the time arrives. Take this gripping journey to Sequoyah, Georgia and witness A.J.'s battle with mortality, euthanasia, and his adventure back to the past and people who made him what he is - and helps him make the decision that will alter his life forever.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   308
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.17" Width: 6.37" Height: 1.2"
Weight:   1.28 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2008
Publisher   Medallion Press
ISBN  1933836385  
ISBN13  9781933836386  

Availability  0 units.

More About Raymond L. Atkins

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Raymond L. Atkins has been published in "The Blood and Fire Review," " Christmas Stories from Georgia," "The Lavender Mountain Anthology," and "The Old Red Kimono." He lives in Rome, Georgia.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Front Porch Prophet?

Raymond Atkins is the Garrison Keillor of the South.  Aug 29, 2008
I grew up listening to Garrison Keillor every Sunday morning on the radio, and I love his gentle, easygoing narratives of small-town life. Sequoyah, Georgia, Raymond L. Atkin's quirky town, is the Lake Wobegone of the South. The rural community is populated with a never-ending stream of strange characters. There's Hoghead, a cook who proudly makes the world's worst coffee and proudly posts the Daily Special in the front window every morning, as well as a cheerful Christian message. Unfortunately, he isn't too good at separating his thoughts, so you might see advertised "THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH COUNTRY-FRIED STEAK" or "CHRIST DIED FOR THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN IN THE COUNTY." A.J.'s wife Maggie is pretty normal, except that all of her family members are named after famous authors, so her full name is Margaret Mitchell Callahan Longstreet, and her children are named Emily Charlotte (named for BOTH the Bronte sisters in a break with tradition), Harper Lee and James Joyce. Police officer Slim could be the twin brother of Hazzard County's Sheriff Roscoe. But everyone in the town basks in the glow of small-town friendliness, and the community happily takes its turn irritating and taking care of each other.

Part of the way Eugene amuses himself is by writing letters to all the people he knows to be sent after he dies. There's an excerpt from each one at the beginning of every chapter. Some of them are sweet, most of them are sarcastic (Being dead is not that bad. There are a lot of people here I know. In fact, most of them were your patients.) All of them hare hilarious.

The joy of this book comes from the variety of characters and their tangled relationships. It's really a fun read; page after page made me laugh like a hyena (I even snorted within hearing distance of some clients; that was embarrassing) but at the end I may have been sniffling a little bit. It's very authentic and comfortable; if The Front Porch Prophet were an article of clothing it would definitely be a soft, worn, slightly dirty brown leather jacket that's been heated in the sun so that it's snug and warm and has that perfect old-leathery smell to it.

Southern charm...  Aug 21, 2008
Raymond Atrins
Medallion Press, 2008
ISBN: 9781933836386
5 Stars
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for
You do not have to be a Southerner to enjoy a quirky Southern story. The setting for The Front Porch Prophet is Sequoyah, Georgia . Unique characters, southern charm, and a gripping story make this book an excellent read. Eugene is battling a fatal disease and must face his mortality. He seeks help from his estranged best friend, A.J. Together they look back on the past.
The Front Porch Prophet will make you laugh and will make you cry. Raymond Atrins is an extremely talented author. He developed a plot that peeks at southern life, approaching death, and friendships. The secondary characters make this book. Their quirkiness makes them appealing. The writing style is pleasant, fast-paced, and rewarding. I suspect this book will be a best seller.
Absolutely charming Southern fiction  Aug 16, 2008
A.J. Longstreet and Eugene Purdue share a colorful past. They grew up together in the mountains of Sequoyah, Georgia, and got into their share of trouble. The best friends had an alcohol-induced falling out three years ago and haven't spoken since. In the opening scenes of The Front Porch Prophet by Raymond L. Atkins, Eugene initiates contact with A.J. with some bad news. Eugene has terminal cancer and a matter of months to live. He needs A.J. to be present in the final phase of his life and good-hearted A.J. readily obliges.

Thus begins the reunion between what must surely be two of the most charming and entertaining characters in rural Georgia. As A.J. steps back into Eugene's life, the past comes flooding back. As events and characters unfold, Atkins presents A.J. and Eugene as boys, teenagers, and young men. He introduces their parents, grandparents, wives, children, neighbors and colleagues. It is a large and eclectic cast of characters, and they are what makes this story special.

If a terminally ill man suffering through his last days sounds like a depressing premise for a story, don't worry. This compelling tale is anything but. Atkins is a master story teller and his anecdotes, all told from A.J. Longstreet's point of view, draw the reader in while the tongue-in-cheek way he presents them will make you smile. The narrative tone is dry and humorous, but at the same time warm and tender. It lovingly embraces the quirkiness of the residents of Sequoyah and pokes gentle but loving fun at the culture of the Deep South.

Atkins' writing is impeccable and he is clearly in his element with this wonderful piece of Southern fiction.
One of the strong points of this novel is the way in which he builds a very strong sense of place, not only with descriptions of the physical setting but with his characters, through descriptions of their personalities, daily lives and interactions. Even the rough and tumble ones who drank entirely too much whiskey and carried on love affairs with their firearms, were so likeable. And in the end, they show us that no matter where you're from, family and friendship are ties that bind and endure despite our mistakes and inadequacies.

Laugh-out-loud hilarious, but deep with emotion  Aug 16, 2008
If you lived in a small town when you were growing up, or are just redneck enough, you'll know exactly what's going on in this story.

That's what makes The Front Porch Prophet so hilarious and relatable. Author Raymond L. Atkins' subtle implementations of dry humor and unlikely-but-possible situations are what drive this otherwise melancholy perspective on a man's slow battle with cancer while residing in the small town of Sequoyah, Georgia. The story's bulk are the family branches of the slowly succumbing Eugene Purdue, bringing in characters with rich personalities and wonderful side stories. Each character is described throughout the entirety of the book; this includes the local eatery's religious owner, Hoghead (who unintentionally renames the drive-in with a combination of Bible tidbits and dining specials); Estelle Chastain (whose mean little dog meets an unexpected demise by an aerial porch); real estate buyer Truth Hannassey (who finds a love match in Eugene's ex-wife); and deputy Slim (who would freak out if he ever found out about that stolen school bus).

The story is rich and lively, easing the emotional break of Eugene's gradual degradation (even with grenades to ease the boredom). But his familial friend A.J.'s reluctant role as caretaker and possible Grim Reaper shows a tenderness and emotion familiar to many who have lost a loved one. Between Estelle's reckless driving and A.J.'s battle of words with Eugene's dog Rufus lies a story of heartbreak, loss, and emotion. A fantastic read.
A new "Southern Icon"  Aug 16, 2008
I read this book because I have a family member who is a friend of the author. i am not sure what I expected, but what ever it was , I received much more. The characters became like family members and friends that I have known all my life. I laughed out loud in resturants or where ever I was at the time. I cried some also. As I came closer to the conclusion, I was hoping the next book was to be a continuation. I am an avid reader. I love southern writers. Ray is one of the best.I consider him in the company of Ferrol Sams, Pat Conroy,and even Faulkner and Welty. I was blown away by his first novel.

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