Charlie the Hawk can’t help but identify with the Klamath River, his father’s tribe’s ancestral home. It springs forth from the distant mountains and fights its way to the ocean. So like the river, Charlie’s life is one long struggle from its inception to its end, flooded with his tears and littered with his fears.
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“. . . sympathetic character . . . and lush descriptions.”
In Charlie’s Pride, Dee Hubbard attempts to demonstrate how closely connected the well-being of a river and the land surrounding it can be to its inhabitants.
The name Charlie’s Pride applies first to the big rig Charlie drives on three long and winding trips a day, hauling logs from the forests to the mill. He builds a good life for his wife and two young daughters with his trucking income until the day his nerves get the better of him, and he misses a bend and wrecks. After the accident, he strives to find another worthwhile occupation, but he experiences yet another accident in the lumbering fields, causing the death of a co-worker and another job loss. He then heads into the backwoods to build drying sheds for illegal marijuana farms for a time. Finally he drifts back to the Klamath as a fishing guide. With Charlie’s Pride now the name of his boat, will Charlie be able to regain the pride he has lost?
Unlike the Klamath River, this story moves along unhurriedly, jumping off into eddies of Charlie’s past through a multitude of flashbacks. Verb tense changes from present to past to present, and rapid point-of-view switches between characters within some scenes, may cause readers confusion. The sympathetic character of Charlie and the lush descriptions of the river are the novel’s underlying strengths.
Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews