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    Doodle Bug Doodle Bug
    Your House is on Fire

    Set in the mid-'50s, "Doodle Bug" is the story of 17-year-old Corley Malone, who grows up along the banks of the "Vandalia River." Like his friends and neighbors, he is the product of generations of subsistence farmers whose way of life, even then, was fast being overtaken by "progress" -- materially modest, yet rich in the things that matter most. (Water games in the old swimming hole, lazy summer nights catfishing from a wooden johnboat, one room school houses, the satisfaction derived from long days of hard work in the country air.)

    Corley and his friends also like to raise a little hell on the back roads and in the beer joints, sharing midnight six-packs of Falls City in the front seat of a car, and then taking "target practice" on the empties. They also fancy themselves "international lovers," back when condoms were "rubbers" and used mainly for birth control. Corley is both innocently profane and profanely innocent, and it is the seamless integration of these two facets that gives this book its unique flavor. His antics and observations provide regular doses of laugh-out-loud humor -- and I haven't even told you the part about the dynamite yet.

    But time is running out for Corley, as he rapidly approaches his high school graduation in an era in Appalachia when the three R's meant "readin', ritin' and Route 35 to Ohio." With few employment prospects in his native state, he is faced with the choice of leaving home to earn money for the things he wants or staying with the austere but spiritually rewarding life of his ancestors, and between the old-time music he grew up playing and the upstart rock 'n' roll that is replacing it in the local beer halls and roadhouses -- all while he is still grappling with the differences between "love" and "passion."

    What Critics Say

    John Wehrl, Graffiti Magazine, 1994, calls the book "an Appalachian Catcher In The Rye, adding, "Samples writes in the breezy, All-American prose style that comes out of James T. Farrell and J. D. Salinger, and which has lately been adopted by more whimsical writers like Jim Lehrer. With an admirable economy of words, he sketches telling portraits of eccentric and sturdy characters that will stick in your mind long after you put the book away. And I'll tell you the truth: I've always considered myself a pretty fair writer, but just when you get to where you can throw a piece of coal across the river nearly every time, along comes one of those Samples boys and pitches one clear up on the railroad tracks."

    Where to Get The Book

    (Just reprinted) $14.95
    West Virginia Book Co.
    1125 Central Avenue
    Charleston WV 25302
    or Amazon
    or The Author

    For information on where to buy other Mack Samples books, click here.