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Mayor Bulldog Gunny

The Mayor Bulldog Gunny is the story of Ryan Lawrence, an eleven-yearold boy who is crippled by polio, and his reclusive mentor, Captain Jeffery Turner. The novel, set in 1952, is about the struggles caused by polio, but more importantly, the success he achieves over his disease.

All the nicknames he has are bestowed by the community farmers in his small town in response to his undauntable spirit and the example he sets for them. Captain Turner, who has lost his childless wife in an auto accident in the 1930s, is enamored of the boy who becomes the grandchild he never had. He teaches the boy about saving his money, about stocks and investing, about race relations, and the basic goodness in all people but more succinctly about being an able and responsible human being. In doing so, the captain takes the boy on a two-week long journey to Mena, Arkansas, to meet a fifty-threeyear- old sergeant who had served under the captain during World War I.

Bulldog loved it because his dad had been killed at the end of World War II. Sergeant Grimes, who lost both legs and one arm and who later receives the Medal of Honor that he gives to the boy, is the captain's way of showing the boy the horrors of war and of showing Bulldog that his handicap is actually minor in the larger human scenario.

An unsettling segment of the novel has the captain dying while sitting next to his wife's grave, which is on the captain's farm, to be found by the Bulldog. "No vampires, werewolves, or zombies-just a story for adults and children with an end that will restore your faith in mankind."

--L.V. Davis

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