A Review By Dave Gerry,
Broadcaster, Global TV, Toronto (December, 2012)
“I am certainly not the first baby boomer to wistfully pine for those kinder, gentler, less technology-reliant times of a bygone youth. The second instalment of Ken Budd’s childhood adventure series, FallGently, does an admirable job of transporting a rapidly greying reader back to those halcyon days. The book is not directly pitched to the older reader, but that latent familiarity is a natural by-product of some skillful writing, and the story works quite effectively on two completely different generations.
The author’s protagonist, Buddy Williams, tilts at some familiar windmills—the austere, non-sympathetic teacher, and the neighbourhood bullies—and is left very much to his own devices to work out some practical solutions that make sense. Remember, this was the world before we had crisis intervention therapists on the speed dial—when a cornered eleven year-old oftentimes had to fight fire with fire. Buddy’s relationships with kith and kin are at the centre of a story arc that, indeed, falls gently from the well-crafted paragraphs on the page. It is the author’s ability to let us gaze out through that pre-pubescent lens that really makes this an evocative journey.
You may not have grown up in Buddy Williams’ prairie town but, no matter your turf, you undoubtedly had a couple of do-or-die knockabout confederates. You soldiered your way through those first days of a new school year together. You got caught up in the rituals of events like Hallowe’en. And you simply learned how to kill time. If that was nothing more than a walk in the woods or a time-worn trek down the neighbourhood railway tracks, so be it.
There is a pivotal relationship in this particular ten year-old’s life and it is a touchstone that may strike the strongest chord with the reader. There are people we all learn from when we’re this age, and Ken Budd’s handling of this particular heartfelt narrative thread will have you both nodding in recognition and blinking away the occasional tear.
FallGently is a lovely seasonal tale to ponder with countless personal moments, insightfully told. There really was a time when innocence and awareness could co-exist within each of us. Wouldn’t we all like to recapture a bit of that?”