The Fighter

The FighterThe Fighter by Michael Farris Smith
on March 20th 2018
Pages: 256
ISBN: 0316432342
Buy on Amazon

No one writes desperation quite like Michael Farris Smith. He writes characters who have given all they can possibly give, who have their back against the wall, who have a hard life, who don’t have any steam left, who have already dug down deep into their souls for that last bit of strength…he writes about survivors, the downtrodden, the damaged and the fighters. He writes about pain, both physical and emotional. It all so very sad and yet beautiful at the same time. He is a gifted writer who draws you into his characters bleak world and shows you that last little bit of light they still have burning deep down inside of them.

The unforgiving Mississippi Delta sets the stage for this book. Jack is a fighter. In many ways, he has been a fighter his entire life. Abandoned as a baby, he was placed in foster care and eventually found a home with his foster mother, Maryann. Both were outcasts in a way – Jack the foster kid, Maryann a lesbian who society looked down upon. Both fought in their own quiet ways against the views and harsh judgement of society, until one day, Jack decided to use his fists. From that point on, there was no turning back. Now, Jack is in debt to Big Momma Sweet, the queen of the Delta vice who in unforgiving and who Jack owes a large sum of money. Maryann is in a nursing home and Jack is dealing with the physical ravages of being a fighter- severe headaches and bodily pains. He has been broken and beaten so many times he must write things down in a notebook, so he can remember them. In the delta, there is no rest for the weary. All he wants is to be done and pay his debt. But life is not kind and circumstances beyond his control pop up and forces him to fight for his memory, his life and his chance at paying off his debt.

While reading this book, I thought of the movie “The Wrestler”. The story-lines are not the same, but the themes are: a man, past his prime, pushing himself to the limit. Struggling against not only his mind, but his body to have glory one last time. Again, that word “desperation” pops up. Will Jack’s story end with a happy ending or a blaze of glory?

Jack is not alone in this book. He also becomes introduced to a 23-year-old tattooed carnival worker who is looking for answers on a quest to get them. Will a chance encounter between Jack and Annette, be the answer they both are looking for? Can rights ever be wronged?

Michael Farris Smith is such a gifted Author. He doesn’t write fairy tales folks, he writes about raw pain, using real characters who struggle and have scars. I feel as if I am in the hands of a master when reading a novel by Smith. He knows how to write pain, he knows how to write redemption, desperation and hope. I don’t know what else to say except fans of Smith will not be disappointed. Beautifully written and moving, The Fighter does not disappoint. Highly recommend!

. Thank you to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley who provided me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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