Nanty Glo
A novel by Jon Kennedy

Dear Home Page friends,

Here are collected the “reviews” that readers have sent in thus far. As I didn't announce that I was going to publish these when I solicited them, I'm deleting any names attached to them to avoid violating anyone's confidentiality. If I've missed any sent, the omission was unintentional; I get scores of emails every day and, as I wasn't planning to publish these at first, may have misplaced one or more of them. Please feel free to write again if your previous note is missing. Or please write again anyway if you just have further thoughts or “reviews” to share about subsequent chapters. These comments, in the order they were received, are all about Chapter One.

Thanks, all who've written and for all your kindness.—Jon

Let me congratulate you on shedding the dust from your hitherto incomplete novel. .... I enjoyed your intial chapter and found the references quite entertaining, though I must admit an obvious bias.

Seems little change has found a home in Nanty Glo, reminds me of my youth.

If I may add my rather fledgling critique, I would suggest the dialogue lacks a certain flow, though at times it rang harmoniously.

The seed has been planted as now I wish to know more of this wide-eyed pilot of the local press. The table is set. This metaphor my rendering of importance to the first chapter of any book.

I look forward to reading more. [a fellow author]

Great reading! I'm in the same age group. I met my future husband , ----, at the midnite movies. 'The Blob' was playing that nite. It was the end of 1957 p.m. start of 1958 a.m.

The most interesting part for me is that you're telling this story from a boy's point of view. I had always suspected there were things that the boys didn't tell us. Drinking, smoking, brawling and an encounter with a “fairy” were not the things we girls knew about yet. I had heard about sissified guys, but what they actually did was not known to us.

Looking forward to reading the next episode.

I read your first chapter, and even though I am not a native “Nanty-Gloite,” liked it very much. My home town, Asheville, N.C., was Thomas Wolfe's home town. Although he claimed that all of the characters were fictitional in Look Homeward Angel, people recognized themself in the book. At first, they were angry that they were in the book, and later they were angry that they were not.

I will save your book in microsoft word, so that [my husband] can read it at his leisure. We look forward to future “installments.” Thank you for writing this.


But all the characters here are fictional! Incidentally, Andy Rogalski, my mentor/editor, considered Look Homeward Angel the great American novel and recommended that I read it, which of course I did, probably before turning 16. A few years later I visited Asheville on my first real vacation, and visited Wolfe's grave. —Jon


I like your style, and I like the story. Although I'm a female and can't relate to the experiences in this chapter, I can understand the point-of- view from the mothers these boys mention. And, realizing how everyone was on a "tight budget" at home, losing a pair of corduroy pants would upset a mother.

(“Do you have any idea how much they cost? But, thank God, you're all right! How embarrassed you must have been walking along the street without your pants! Those boys just don't feel good about themselves; the only way they can feel good is to make others feel bad,” how often I told my son that!)

Not being familiar with “downtown” Nanty Glo, I can't follow the cars' routes. Your book could give hope to boys trapped in “dying” towns today.

Philadelphia and suburbs are losing white males every year; just heard a statistic yesterday: Phila. lost 10,000 between 25 & 40 last year.

Kids today need to be brought back to reality in literature. The garbage they're allowed to read for book reports are mainly science fiction and anything that's been made into a movie -- so if they can't read, they can go watch the movie and then write the report on it. Public school is cheating the young people today, as you're probably aware. We need someone like you to let the teenagers know that there is LIFE after high school and the sooner they learn to be responsible, loyal, etc., the better. (However character doesn't count in the workplace anymore.)

Your novel can be inspiring to young boys. Please do continue and FINISH the project.

The first chapter held my interest. I could visualize all the locations and the situations. Looking forward to the next installment.

i like the novel so far. keep it coming!!

Your Nanty Glo hitchhiking first chapter experience was impressive. I had a few nightmare experiences hitchhiking when I was stationed in San Rafael during the Korean Conflict. Also, when I was discharged in California, I hitchhiked all the way to Belsano. Some of the memories were fascinating and some were very scary - one that had two of us jumping over a barbed wire fence in Kansas when a carload of threatning hoodlums were trying to force us into their car. A few scratches and scary bulls were welcome at that time!

Looking forward to more issues.


I LOVE the novel! I can't wait for the next “installment.” I've often wondered about the novel after you told me that you started one, and wanted to tell you (or maybe have told) that I'd like to read what you'd written so far....

I LOVE it!!!

Don't you even worry about criticism due to “strong language,” literature is literature, and people have to have an open mind. Besides, your “strong language” is “Romper Room” compared to what's out there today!!! I found it refreshing.

It's even more fun when you know all the places and “characters,” and can actually smell those roses, and feel that gravel under your elbows as you skid along on your frontside. Besides, what you wrote is actually “true” events. Those things happened, and still happen. That's life!

As for the polka dotted boxers, you were “country before country was cool!” ha ha ha. I've run a copy and plan to send it off to [my aunt]; she'll love it! I'll send her each installment. I know she'll treasure it.

Read the first installment and loved it. It brought back a lot of memories. I used to peddle the show bills for the Capitol Theatre in Vintondale. Also, I had forgotten that Pinehurst was the original name of the restaurant in Belsano. This should be published in book form. You wouldn't have any trouble selling the novel.

I am enjoying your Nanty Glo novel. Nanty Glo might get national recognition before it's all over.

Incidentally, I did see Elvis perform back in 1956 in Atlanta, Ga., while on an Army weekend pass. Should have got his autograph.


Setting works extremely well in time and place.

Pennsylvania in summer at night - How about mosquitos and night sounds from the woods? If I remember my own teen times, I would have been fantasizing revenge the entire walk back and [been] embarassed as hell about the underwear. I might have even stayed out of sight when cars passed instead of continuing along unconcerned.

[another fellow author]

Not to be defensive but hoping to get feedback from current I correct in recalling that mosquitoes are more a problem in the early evening...not after full darkness? Night sounds—assuming you mean the cicada—I think, are heard later in the summer, not in early June. As for hiding from oncoming cars, it's not established in the narrative but those of us who know that highway know there's no place to go for the most part. On the other hand, the traffic would be sparse enough and fast moving enough at that time of night that a pedestrian would be hardly seen, much less his state of dress noted...unless totally naked or wearing all white. As for revenge...I'd tried to establish Bryan's feelings of powerlessness apart from his column...but this is revisited somewhat in already existing subsequent chapters. But as for plotting it at this time, that would have been out of character. Jon



© 1988, 2000 Jon Kennedy