The Legend of Juggin Joe
by Joseph Yakel
Joseph Yakel has brought the world The Legend of Juggin Joe, a delightfully funny
tale he conjured up from the hills of upstate New York. It's the story of young Joe Yakel,
the most talented jug player in the entire world. Readers learn about Joe's escapades as
a child and how he come to discover the jug. He's discovered, cuts a record, and even
plays on the Grand Ole Opry. Though Joe dearly loved playing the jug, his other love was
the preacher's daughter named Florentine. Unfortunately, the preacher stepped between them,
and Joe set off on his musical tour. But music didn't impress the preacher, and even Joe's
stint in the Army didn't sway him, nor his meeting with President Reagan and Soviet Premier
Gorbechev and Joe's part in ending the Cold War. No, it just finally took the preacher's own
search for forgiveness to finally bring these two lovers together.
The Legend of Juggin Joe sometimes reads like Forest Gump meets The Dillards.
It's funny. It's warm. It's full of mountainisms.
The author has drawn on his own experiences with the people of upstate New York and
his own fascination with the jug. He has written the book in what he calls "country speak,"
a phonetically-written dialect of the mountain people of the region. I found myself wanting
to give this language a southern twang but soon I realized that this is closer to Down East
than Down Home, with its more New England flavor. It was a bit difficult to read at first
and probably is best read out loud for full effect.
For this reason, and because of the frequent draws on the "Pick Me Up" (what usually
occupied those jugs) and subtle references to what's best left between a husband and a
wife, the book is best read by adults or older teens. Some parents may choose to read
aloud parts of the book, and other parents may decide it's right fine for their more
mature youngsters to read by themselves.
What is clear as spring water is that we sure haven't heard the last of Juggin Joe
and his misadventures. We're all going to be waiting for the next installment, Mr. Yakel.
Nonfiction / Humor Age Group: Some teens and adult|
at Publisher's site
NOTE: Reviewer Janie
Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!, Relaxation
Techniques for Children, Relaxation Techniques for Adults; Co-author of The
Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book. Coming
Soon: The Ultimate Wedding Workbook, Get Rich on Love, and Sacred Breath
(a sound recording of relaxation meditations).