The axe for the frozen sea…

Kafka said that a book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Chuck Radke’s stirring, at times heartbreaking memoir, Stuccoville: Life Without a Net, is such an axe. When I finished reading, I was in tears. I wanted to stand up and cheer the author’s unflinching honesty and filial devotion. Weeks later,Continue reading “The axe for the frozen sea…”

The night a beautiful lady soared on the trapeze in Fresno — and came crashing down

from the Fresno Bee, Sept. 8, Chuck Radke Few Fresnans alive today will recognize the name Brenda Jones Cuttin. In fact, I may be the only one. I think about Brenda every year about this time, specifically on my birthday, September 8th. I have thought of her every September 8th since 1977, which ifContinue reading “The night a beautiful lady soared on the trapeze in Fresno — and came crashing down”

A Story of Survival, Acceptance, and Grace

A review of Stuccoville: Life Without a Net, by Corrinne Clegg Hales Stuccoville explores the profoundly interdependent relationship between a boy and his mother, whose chronic and increasingly debilitating illness shapes both of their lives. Charles Radke tells this remarkable story without blinders or sentimentality, without flinching from harsh details, or from his own culpability or anyone else’s.  A gifted storyteller, he makes excellent use of detail and image, and his gritty descriptions of Fresno’s west sideContinue reading “A Story of Survival, Acceptance, and Grace”

“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 voidContinue reading ““He Wasn’t a Saint…””

What Have I Done?

In the final scene of Back to the Future, Biff Tannen trundles into the McFly house carrying a white box. “Mr. McFly, Mr. McFly,” Tannen says. “This just arrived. […] I think it’s your new book!” First to the package is Lorraine McFly, who spirits the tape from the box to reveal George McFly’s newContinue reading “What Have I Done?”