4 Oct 2022


 Today its my pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on GOODS & EFFECTS by AL SCHNUPP.

What happens when a free-thinking widow, raised in a deeply religious environment, is forced to create a new life? Devastated by the death of her husband and sons, Hannah sells the family farm and creates a store and living quarters in a delivery truck. As a travelling sales-woman still centred in her rural community, she becomes the heart of a network of interlinking lives. Her friendships span years as she blossoms into a feminist. A clever problem-solver, shrewd schemer, and spinner of tender lies, she's a dream weaver - and a quietly effective advocate for justice. ... Back Cover Blurb

Hannah was told by Deacon Stahl her husband would not be given a church funeral. ... First Sentence, Page 1

The men dropped everything: sign, posts, shovel, rifles, metal fuel can. Wild-eyed and spooked, they started racing back down the lane toward their getaway truck.

When the forerunners reached the bridge, they tripped over the repositioned plank. Any attempt to break their fall failed. Hands and feet slipped through the gap and the men were sent sailing into the net, which fell down over them. It was a melee of twisted ankles, jammed wrists, scraped shins and crushed testicles. Memory Moment, Page 80

All in all, what I thought to be a highly readable novella that would make a great film with great characters who will wind their way into your heart.

The narrative, straightforward, the prose, sparse, the story, delightful, humorous, heart-breaking, the characters, well, for me it is the characters that make Goods & Effects such a joy to read.

Opening with the death of her husband and two sons, at first I thought Hannah a bit of a cold fish who seemed if not totally unconcerned about the deaths then certainly not as devastated as we might have expected but then it quickly became apparent that far from cold Hannah is one of those women who, nothing if not practical, does not have time to weep and wail ... at least not just yet.

A road trip novel with a difference ... Yay! I love a book that's that bit different 😊.

A story of self realisation that follows Hannah as she coverts an old green and yellow 1955 International Harvester Metro van into her home and travelling shop, Hannah's Goods & Effects, and sets off on the road with her companion, Five Paws, the cat. 

Whilst the plot lines are charming, engaging and compelling and the ending, oh my goodness, that ending ... be sure you have some tissues at the ready, I felt that the emphasis was very much on the characters; not that I'm complaining, I simply adore well written characters with a story to tell.

All kudos to the author for his portrayal of Hannah, intelligent, creative and not above being manipulative should the occasion arise, what a wonderful character she is; it isn't all male authors who can write female characters with such authority and feeling but Schnupp does so beautifully. 

And then, and then there's the rich diversity of characters who, all too often overlooked in novels set in rural communities during this period of time {this time being the 1960's}, feature here in such an organic, 'its no big deal' kind of a way. I loved Darla who, highly intuitive, despite/because of her deafness displays a wonderful artistic talent and then there were lesbians, Velma and Vivian, and person of colour, musician, LeRoy, all of whose lives were enriched because of Hannah ... not that every thread of the story has a happy ending.

About Al Schnupp ... Born and raised Mennonite in rural Pennsylvania, Al Schnupp trained as an actor before earning assorted degrees in theatre. He's spent his career teaching, directing, producing, set designing, and writing plays - and a few novels - mainly in California. He's re-created classics {The Little Prince} and scripted into figures like Kathe Kollwitz {Censored} and Peggy Guggenheim {The Collection}. His political satire, Zero to Infinity, originally a screen play, is now a published novella, Zero. And he makes his own are.

Follow Al Schnupp ... ~ Website ~



Kelly said...

Good review... you've won me over! I'll have to check into it more closely.

Kelly said...

Hooray! I just found it listed at one of my digital library sites. I've marked it for future reference!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Going on my TBR list - thanks for sharing!

nightwingsraven said...

Because of what you said about
Hannah and the other characters.
I will definitely keep this book
in mind. And thank you for your
enthusiastic and excellent review.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

I don't generally enjoy short stories / novellas; however, I have received requests to review four of them just recently, all from different authors. The first two I have enjoyed way beyond my expectations, so I shall definitely bear this one in mind, as it sounds really good. At over £5 for the kindle edition, it is a bit too expensive for me to justify downloading yet, but I shall keep checking back for reductions!

Great Review! You really sold it to me :)

Sherry Ellis said...

Sounds like a good story with strong characters. Great review!

DMS said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I am glad to hear you liked it so much. I am definitely curious about this one. :)