“Temper CA” by Paul Skenazy— Family Secrets

Skenazy, Paul. “Temper CA”,  Miami University Press, 2019. Family Secrets Amos Lassen
Joy Temper grew up near the woods of Temper, CA, where she would wander almost on a daily basis. Temper is a Gold Rush town that her family helped establish in the 1840s. When she returns to her childhood home for her grandfather’s funeral, she learns that the stories she’s long believed about her hippie upbringing are far from real. Joy struggles to face who she once was, and what she now desires and is forced to confront family secrets and long-suppressed memories. Here is a novella in the style of the Romantics and it is about contemporary and historical family. Here is a story that surprises the reader with every sentence. Do not expect anything as you red because nothing will happen the way you surmise. The characters are sympathetic but strange and they represent human bonds that are both tense and strong.
We are pulled into the secrets and desires of Joy Temper who carries the weight of her family and an amount of California history with her. Writer Paul Skenazy reminds us that our deepest wounds are those that many times make us most receptive and alive. Lile I said earlier, this is a novella that rests somewhere between a short story and a novel and it looks at
hatred and deep affection within a difficult family. It is also a mystery story about redefining a childhood and reimagining varied aspects of love. It is a moving and sensitive tale that is deeply insightful and a fascinating read.

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