In the small panhandle town of Kersey, Texas three 11-year-olds become elementary school classmates. Cathy Benson, an orphaned, privileged Californian, and best friends John Caldwell and Trey Don Hall form an inseparable triumvirate.
This is the premise of Leila Meacham’s sprawling saga, Tumbleweeds, as vast as Texas itself. John and Trey Don were given the task of guiding and protecting Cathy through her early school years, but as time passed their relationship became a love triangle. Trey Don was the self-assured, talented quarterback of the high school football squad, and John was his receiver.
Their talents were noted by scouts, and they received college football scholarships to Florida. Cathy was also to attend as a pre-med student. Unfortunately that was not to be. Unforeseen circumstances intervened- John went to Loyola to become a Jesuit, Cathy remained in Kersey and Trey Don went alone to Florida. The events leading to this separation are compelling and dramatic, not to mention life-altering.
On one level this story reminds me of “Friday Night Lights” since Texas loves its schoolboy football so much, but Tumbleweeds is about much more than football. It is about character, truthfulness, loyalty, love and family. It also proves that one unfortunate incident can change the course of many lives.
What Meachem does is follow the three lives through forty years and traces their progress and feelings toward one another through all life’s challenges. The action increases dramatically in the last quarter of the book as mystery after mystery is revealed to all concerned including law enforcement, and the three are left with the aftermath.
Tumbleweeds falls into the “blind find” category and was an unexpected pleasure. It’s easy reading with an important message. Go, Bobcats!
I give the book 3 7/8 first downs.
Happy reading from Beverly!