“He Wasn’t a Saint…”

A review of Stuccoville: Life Without a Net, by Tammy Ruggles

Stuccoville: Life Without a Net by Charles Lewis Radke is a poignant memoir about a mother/son relationship.

Radke tells of his impoverished childhood, having little to eat besides tomato sandwiches, caring for his mother, who was ill with lupus, and dealing with the void left by his father, who abandoned him at age eight to run off with another woman. This left Chuck and his mother to struggle on their own and handle life’s ups and downs.

You will grow with the author from his childhood through teenage years and dating and on into adulthood as a family man, including a severe motorcycle accident and some very relatable mother/father issues. As an only child and caregiver to his mother, Chuck’s life had some gray moments.

Still, his story is balanced with positivity because his experiences made him who he turned out to be: caring, sensitive, and appreciative. He wasn’t a saint, though, and will be the first to tell you he was just an ordinary person doing the best he could with what he had.

Some memoirs read as though a generic person writes them, but Radke’s writing talents shine through with a uniqueness of character, personality, and style. His descriptions of time, setting, events, and people are literary, and you realize that he’s a born writer who could elevate any subject matter. The tales he shares from his youth may remind you of your own.

If you like memoirs that take you inside the author’s heart and mind but deliver a message that will connect with your spirit and make you think about life journeys, you will enjoy Stuccoville: Life Without a Net by Charles Lewis Radke.

Tammy Ruggles, for Readers’ Favorite

About the Reviewer: Tammy Ruggles is a screenwriter who makes her home in Kentucky. She has one screenwriting credit to date, Foster Home, and her other writing credits include Disney’s Family Fun, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Good News Network, Newsmax, The Mail Online, Country Living, House Beautiful, allRecipes, and many more. She is also a fine art photographer and painter.

Published by charleslewisradke

I am a writer and full-time staff member at Fresno State. I run the Dissertation/Thesis Office at the university, and I founded the Fresno State Graduate Writing Studio. My full-length memoir, Stuccoville: Life Without a Net, launched January, 26, 2021 (E.L. Marker/WiDo Publishing). My creative nonfiction has appeared in Hash, Sierra Nevada Review, Stoneboat Literary Journal, and others.

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