Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review: Hang Up the Fiddle

Book Review: Hang Up the Fiddle

Author: Frederic Babcock

Date: 1954

Publisher: Doubleday

ISBN: none

Length: 320 pages

Quote: “It was a boy’s voice. The song, as it came nearer, was strange...‘If I had the wings of a beautiful dove, I’d fly to the arms of the one I love.’ Pete would be ashamed to sing mushy stuff like that.”

Nevertheless Pete and Duffy, the singer, become friends. As they grow up together, there are times when “it looks like ‘Hang up the fiddle and the bow’” for each of them, but they’re always there for each other.

This young adult novel is a little cleaner than the current fashion might allow, but lacks nothing in the way of emotional, even moral drama. Though set in the “civilized” Western States of the early twentieth century, it has wide-open prairies, outlaws, and good men who get on the wrong side of the law in it. It’s recommended to all young men who find the time to read fiction, and all the young women who like them.

I originally wrote this review several years ago, for Associated Content, which didn't pay for book reviews; I posted book reviews there to announce what I had for sale to the local lurkers, which did pay. My review of Hang Up the Fiddle never went live on AC. My copy of the book sold, anyway. Checking to confirm that Babcock no longer needs $1, I discovered that even the "canonical" Kirkus Review of this novel is almost as succinct as mine. (Here's their post, for comparison purposes:

Babcock was best known as a critic, but he had published at least one other novel in the 1930s. He has gone where the goodhearted, if politically misguided, writers go (Stephen Foster reference intended). Hang Up the Fiddle is not a Fair Trade Book but will still cost $5 per copy plus $5 per package if you buy it from either of the addresses shown at the bottom of the screen, under "Contact." If you add a Fair Trade Book to the package, it's a better deal than you'd get by buying Hang Up the Fiddle directly from the person who posted the picture of the dust jacket on Amazon.