Axelson, Xavier. “Dutch’s Boy”, Seventh Window Publications, 2011.
Following a Dream
Have you ever read something that made you say “WOW!”? All of us have and I certainly have done so more than once. I just got floored again by Xavier Axelson’s “Dutch’s Boy” because it reminded me so much of growing up and making decisions. The future is so unknown and we can only deal with by going through it and such is the story of Harry Reynolds, Harry dreams of leaving home and riding broncos but his father, Dutch, does not want him to go until he feels his son is ready to do so. Obviously Dutch is a bit out of town with the younger generation because we know that once someone wants to do something, not much can stop him. Harry feels like this is something he has to do and he has to do it now and he makes the move and leaves before his father can stop him. His dream of riding gets a few extra additions as he experiences sex and love out on the road. Now that Harry is on his own, he has to grow up and do so quickly.
I fell in love with Harry. Axelson gives us a loveable character with him and he is wonderfully fleshed out. All of us are bound to see a little something of ourselves in Harry and it seems, to me, at least, that his rebellious nature makes him that the kind of guy you just want to grab onto. I could not help but think how much he and I were alike. I was determined to leave home and move to Israel and nothing was going to stop me and I saw this kind of determination in Harry.
However this is not a tale of wanderlust but it is a story of following dreams and finding oneself. Harry told his best friend, Reb, that he was leaving and it is here that we get a hit of what awaits us. Harry felt he had to find out who he was and he was not about to let his father stop him. The road his self-discovery was peppered with good times. I can’t say too much more about the plot because I want you to read this. What I will say is that this is a story that held my interest from the very first sentence and I did not stop reading until I finished it. My only complaint is that I wanted more.
The market is flooded with stories of young men on identity quests and what makes this different is that Harry knew what he wanted. He just did not know what would happen to him on the road to finding himself. Axelson has quite a story here and his skill in telling it is felt all the way through.