When Zachary Beaver Came to Town
By Kimberly Willis Holt, read by Will Patton
Published 2006 by Listening Library
Not much happens in Toby's small Texas town until the fateful summer that Zachary Beaver comes to town. Zachary's appearance will be just one thing in a summer full of changes for Toby.
I picked up this audio on a whim, in the mood for a Texas story. I like reading books that take place where I live or have lived - it's fun to see what I recognize or what seems familiar. It takes place in a fictional Texas town during the Vietnam War, but I saw similarities with the Texas of today throughout the story. Unfortunately, though, I just didn't really get into this book and I'm hard-pressed to remember much about it. I know I liked some bits of it - I remember yelling at the audio while I was driving a couple times (yes, sometimes I talk back to my books) - but overall, this didn't leave much of an impression on me. It's a pretty standard coming of age story, though it does have some unusual elements to it (the appearance of the obese Zachary Beaver being a bit atypical). Toby's journey through adolescence, though, is not all that unusual. In terms of the audio version, I liked the reader well enough - he had quite a strong Southern accent, which was at times a bit grating but worked for the story. He spoke a little slowly for my taste, though that's pretty typical of Southern folks as well. All in all, I found this a pretty unremarkable book - interesting, as the book won the National Book Award.