CALUMET, Mich. — Sunbury Press has released My Brother’s Mountain, John Timmerman’s historical young adult novel about life in Calumet, Michigan in 1913 during tense economic times.
About the Book:
Davey O’Brien and his friends are just trying to get through seventh grade at the Calumet & Hecla school for miners’ children. But trouble won’t leave them alone. Conflict with the “townies”, sons and daughters of mine bosses and store owners, is one thing. But then the miners go on strike, food becomes scarce during awful winter storms, and life itself grows uncertain as the miners square off against the owners’ vigilante thugs.
September 24, 1912
I had put my life in the hands of a madman.
He stood beside me, carrot-colored hair tangled up in curls like a nest of snakes. His shoulders stretched the shirt and sweater to the point of bursting. “And remember. Not a word of this to anyone. Ever,” he said.
His name was Robert O’Brien, and he’s my brother. I can’t deny it. Even though I have dark hair and dark blue eyes instead of green. I was skinny as a birch sapling, and about half as strong. I couldn’t see worth anything either. Right now I felt positively weak and half blind.
“Ready, Davey?” Robert asked. “It’s not going to be daylight forever.”
“I’m coming,” I said.
I was on my knees getting a drink at the creek. All around me were footprints of animals that had crept down the forest trail during the night. The deer prints were the deepest—the big does more cautious, the small fawn prints dotted all around like dizzy sailors.
I felt like one of those fawns, spindly-legged and trembly.
My mistake was the way I leaned down to get a quick drink from the creek before I followed Robert the rest of the way up the trail. I saw Mount Baldy perfectly reflected in the water, ready for me to climb.
I didn’t want to do it. But Robert stood beside me like an oak tree with curly orange leaves daring me to go back down the trail.
“Come on. Don’t sit there guzzling water or you’ll never make it up.”
I wasn’t guzzling. I was staring at the upside-down reflection of Mount Baldy and was thinking that I really, really didn’t need to be a King of the Mountain.
At least not yet. That thing was a monster.
But, this would be my only chance this year. Snow could start any day. I mean heavy snow. And it wouldn’t be gone until May. By then Robert would have turned eighteen, left school, and gone to work in the mines.
I stood up. “Okay,” I said.
He looked at me. “This first part is easy,” he said. “Just an uphill walk. But you have to learn the trail. That’s your job.”
“All right. I hear you.” I hate it when a big brother sounds like a big brother.
“And remember,” he said, “I show you once. If you can’t remember, you don’t deserve to be a King of the Mountain. Brother or not.”
This was the thing. There was only one way to learn the trail. Someone had to lead you, showing all the weird markings used to point the way. If you failed, you were cast out of The Kings forever. You had one chance.
I had known that sooner or later Robert would take me. I was just hoping it would be later. Much later. Like four or five years later when maybe I’d have more than two pounds of muscle in my body and a set of glasses good enough to keep me from bumping into trees and tripping over acorns.
So here we were—working our way along the forest trail to the ledge. The trail started heading up more sharply. My feet kept slipping, and I kept grabbing onto tree trunks to keep my balance. At one point my feet just slid out from under me on a patch of leaves and loose stones. Splat! Right on my face and a wicked little cut on the palm of one hand. Where the trees began to thin out, the wind slanted in from Lake Superior and drove things like icicles right down my throat into my stomach. My fingers were turning blue-white. Big old Robert just kept stalking along ahead of me, as if the whole world wasn’t about to turn to ice. I wish he would fall or something, just to prove he’s not such a big shot.
Fall only about four or five feet, of course. He still had to get me back down. I kept climbing as fast as I could just to stay warm.
I felt like I had been climbing for three days straight. I was sucking at the cold wind to catch my breath. I looked up to see how far I had to go. A long shelf of rock hung out above us.
“Are we at the top?” I asked.
About the Author:
John Timmerman is a former college professor and the author of many books and short stories. He lives with his wife in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
My Brother’s Mountain
Authored by John Timmerman
List Price: $9.99
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
Sunbury Press, Inc.
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Historical / United States / 20th Century
Also available on Kindle
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