The Life and Times of Jamie Lee Coleman
An act of violence compelled him to leave all he’d ever known. A promise to the woman he adored brought him home again.
When the elderly widow Miss Frances Washington rescued the ten-year-old Jamie Lee Coleman from his tarpaper shack in Beulah Land after the boy’s father slapped him one time too many, people told her that she was too old to raise another child—especially a Coleman. But under her tutelage, young Jamie Lee realizes that he has a prodigious talent for performing, and he takes his first steps on a journey that will lead him to perform his unique blend of Southern music in the jazz clubs of New Orleans, in the honky-tonks and bars of Nashville, and on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry—and countless venues beyond.
A remarkable guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Jamie Lee is determined to become a star. But can he escape his Coleman dependency on the bottle—especially when his climb to reach fortune, fame, and love keeps tossing him back on the ground?
The Life and Times of Jamie Lee Coleman is the third novel in Michael Glasscock’s four-part series that vividly portrays the people and traditions of Round Rock, Tennessee. Though each story stands alone, readers who liked Little Joe and The Trial of Dr. Kate will be pleased to see some of their favorite characters in this tale.
The first half of this book? Fabulous.
The second half? Meh.
Written as an autobiography from the main character, the story of Jamie Lee Coleman’s childhood and the battles that came with it was intriguing. Character development was spot on. The story and pacing were where they needed to be. Four stars for that first half.
Around halfway through, the story stalls. There’s very little development despite events that are supposed to be huge and have a tremendous impact. When Jamie faces opportunities for growth and internal battles, it’s not explored and Jamie just moves on to the next stage in his career. There aren’t many consequences faced for the decisions he’s made. Once he becomes successful, everything simply falls into place for the next twenty-five years all nice and tidy. Jamie never makes a bad decision, never gets knocked back down until he’s about forty-five years old and suffers a major loss. Loss and death are running themes in the book but the grief that comes with that isn’t really explored until that later major loss.
I would’ve liked to see more character development for the adult version of Jamie. There was too much “this is the way I said it’s going to be so deal with it!” In reality, that would never work in any sort of group structure, much less a band full of artists.
I wasn’t impressed with the ending. We’re taught throughout the entire book that Jamie is someone who overcomes his troubles and the decisions made at the end completely abandon that aspect.
The overall idea could work brilliantly but falls flat halfway through. After a while, the reader no longer cares that much about Jamie and his bit of self-righteousness that he carries around with him through his life.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley for review.