Title: The Life and Times of Jamie Lee Coleman by Michael E. Glasscock III
Round Rock Series Book Three (can stand alone)
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Length: 351 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
An act of violence compelled him to leave all he’d ever known. A promise to the woman he adored brought him home again.
When the elderly widow Miss Frances Washington rescued the ten-year-old Jamie Lee Coleman from his tarpaper shack in Beulah Land after the boy’s father slapped him one time too many, people told her that she was too old to raise another child—especially a Coleman. But under her tutelage, young Jamie Lee realizes that he has a prodigious talent for performing, and he takes his first steps on a journey that will lead him to perform his unique blend of Southern music in the jazz clubs of New Orleans, in the honky-tonks and bars of Nashville, and on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry—and countless venues beyond.
A remarkable guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Jamie Lee is determined to become a star. But can he escape his Coleman dependency on the bottle—especially when his climb to reach fortune, fame, and love keeps tossing him back on the ground?
The Life and Times of Jamie Lee Coleman is the third novel in Michael Glasscock’s four-part series that vividly portrays the people and traditions of Round Rock, Tennessee. Though each story stands alone, readers who liked Little Joe and The Trial of Dr. Kate will be pleased to see some of their favorite characters in this tale.
The Life and Times of Jamie Lee Coleman is a lovely rags to riches novel about the meteoric rise of Jamie Lee Coleman from his dirt poor and abusive beginnings to his incredible success as a country singer. This third installment in Michael E. Glasscock III’s series set in Round Rock, TN can be read as a standalone, but fans will be delighted with a few guest appearances by characters from previous books in the series.
Written as an autobiography in first person from Jamie Lee’s perspective, the novel begins in 1962 when Jamie Lee is ten years and follows him as he escapes his poverty stricken and abusive childhood through his wildly successful career. It is a wonderfully heartwarming story about Jamie Lee making the most of the opportunities he has been given and his gratitude for the people who have helped him along the way. While his success comes relatively easily, Jamie Lee also has his share of heartache and loss and this is when the seeds sown in his dysfunctional past come back to haunt him.
Jamie Lee is an only child whose alcoholic father regularly abuses him and his poor downtrodden mother. Following a particularly bad beating, Jamie Lee crosses paths with Miss Frances Washington and she quickly becomes his legal guardian. Miss Frances is strict but loving and Jamie Lee flourishes both academically and musically under her careful guidance. With a few notable exceptions, Jamie Lee’s life is mostly carefree until he is sixteen, and a series of unfortunate events forces him to strike out on his own. In New Orleans, a fortuitous encounter sets him on his path to stardom, but a personal loss and a serious accident threaten his burgeoning career. He returns to Nashville where he meets the love of his life and with her by his side, he finds unimaginable success as a country music star, but he also suffers his share of heartbreak as well.
Jamie Lee is a wonderful character who never forgets his humble beginning or those who helped him on his road to stardom. He has seen the devastating effects of alcohol and he refuses to let it ruin the career he has carefully nurtured. Jamie Lee loves deeply but his habit of making major decisions on his own is one of his biggest downfalls in his romantic relationships. He does manage to avoid many of the pitfalls that befall many musicians (drugs, alcohol, infidelity & overspending) and his financial acumen provides him with an incredible fortune. Jamie Lee makes wise business decisions and he eventually gives back to the local community where he was born and raised.
While there is little external conflict in the overall storyline, Jamie Lee faces his internal demons when facing personal tragedy. Jamie Lee overcomes many obstacles throughout his lifetime and by his autobiography’s conclusion in 2003, he has weathered the losses of many of his family members, friends and mentors. Just as he has recovered from a dark period in his life, Jamie Lee faces his biggest challenge and while his decision is unexpected, it fits his character.
The Life and Times of Jamie Lee Coleman is an engaging novel with a wonderful cast of characters. The behind the scenes look at the music industry is quite interesting and never overpowers the unfolding storyline. A surprising plot twist late in the story takes the novel to a shocking and poignant conclusion.
The Life and Times of Jamie Lee Coleman is a superb addition to Michael E. Glasscock III’s Round Rock series that old and new fans do not want to miss. I am very much looking forward to the next novel in this incredible series.