Kenny Williams wants out of Comfort, Texas–away from his abusive, workaholic mother, his ex-convict father, and his small-town life. This gritty story of poetry slams, country music, and small town conflicts coils in a tangle of tragedy and hope.
About the Author
Speech pathologist Carolee Dean published Comfort in 2002.
Chapter 3 I wiped down the counter while Mama busied herself off in the back with the tapes returned from record producers in Nashville. So far not one of them had recognized the vocal talents of Roy Dan Willson, and it was driving Mama crazy. It had only been two weeks and already everything Mama had sent out had been returned. I wondered if anybody ever listened to the tapes or if they just sent them back as soon as they arrived.
Mama muttered under her breath as she put new mailing labels on the brown envelopes and got ready to send them out again. “No ear for talent,” she said half a dozen times. “I don’t understand it,” Mama droned as she hid the extra tapes behind the dishwashing soap. It was a place Daddy was sure never to look. “They come back so fast. It just ain’t logistical.” “Do you mean it ain’t ‘logical’?” I said, doubting that she was talking about the logistics of mailing items between Nashville and Comfort.
Mama shoved a mop bucket at me. “I meant whatever I said, and I said whatever I meant. Now go clean the floor in the dining room.” I carried the bucket out front and started mopping from one side of the dining room to the other, wondering how I’d ever find the time to prepare for the poetry competition.
Mrs. Peterson says words have power. If that’s true then the most potent thing in my life during that time when Daddy first got home was the word “Dallas.” That’s where I was going. I wasn’t stupid about it, though. I watched the news and Sixty Minutes. I knew what happened to runaways out on the streets. I wasn’t going to be out on the streets. I had a plan. And I wasn’t running away. I was merely going to relocate prematurely. The mistake most kids make is that they fly off the handle and get scared or mad at their parents and just take off from home without thinking about it ahead of time. Not me. I’d been thinking about leaving for a long time.
"Dean has superbly woven poets and poetry into the teen's story. Outstanding writing, strong characterization and plot development, and good background information make this title rise above many other recent genre entries." -- School Library Journal, starred School Library Journal, Starred