Author David R. Yale spent the summer and fall of 1974 tape recording Arkansas senior citizens and taking extensive notes about small-town Arkansas life. These interviews and notes have never been published or made available to anyone.
Yale's book captures a part of Arkansas that is long gone: folks who knew how to build a wooden wagon wheel and put a steel tire on it, backwoods sawmills, tiny country stores, small-town cafés serving real home-cooked meals, memories of the dustbowl and the great depression, the story of a couple who founded the first variety store in Huspuckanna back in the 1930s, and reminiscences of the town's first public health nurse, among others.
The new book has earned high marks from Arkansas historian Waddy W. Moore, Professor Emeritus at the University of Central Arkansas, who gave Yale advice about gathering oral history back in 1974. Saying No To Naked Women is "...a fun read in which... [Yale] incorporated interviews naturally and seamlessly.... [An] ...absorbing and delightful story," Professor Moore says.
Arkansas history buffs will be especially interested in pages 77-87, 94-100, 124-129, 138-141, 149-152.
As you can tell from the title, this novel deals with a lot more than Arkansas history. Saying No to Naked Women is a story about 30-year-old Jack Derritt, who doesn't realize he's running away from his problems when he builds a shack in the Ozarks. Alone in his self-built a shack on an Arkansas mountaintop, Jack comes face-to-face with the unpleasant reality: he's filled with rage, he doesn't know how to relate to women, he's addicted to sex and porn values, and he feels like a kid – not a man.
As Jack's story unfolds in the book, a magical mentor appears in the wilderness – and helps him confront the causes of his anger. To Jack's surprise, much of that fury is directed at his parents. When he lets go of his anger and forgives them, he frees himself to love. Readers following Jack's struggle to confront his demons and grow beyond them gain critical insights into the dynamics of relationships that will help them with their own problems.
Saying No to Naked Women has gotten rave reviews.
"It is a work of art -- well-written, rich in detail, emotionally charged, with characters that come to life on the page," says Robert Bly.
"Saying No's strength lies in its warmth and in its insistence that people's limitations don't cancel out their goodness, " says Ellen Hawley, author of the novels Trip Sheets and Open Line.
Margo Meeker LCSW, a Licensed Psychotherapist-Life Coach in Rowayton CT, writes that, " Saying No to Naked Women is an absorbing, beautifully written ... [book] about finding one's authentic self.... Jack is an everyman of sorts, struggling with his painful past to finally and happily become his ‘own authority.' "... Yale seamlessly and entertainingly guides the reader through the real story of Jack's inward journey to become whole... [A] touching tale of self-discovery, self-acceptance and ultimately self-fulfillment... [and a] beautiful read.... I loved Jack and his journey!" Meeker concludes.
David R. Yale's fiction has appeared in Midstream and Response. Yale studied fiction with Grace Paley at the University of Massachusetts Juniper Institute and with Joe Caldwell at the 92nd Street YMHA. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter. Saying No to Naked Women is his first novel.
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