Sunday, December 2, 2012

Goddess Fish: "King Biscuit" by Michael Lloyd Gray Book Review/Giveaway (ends 12/7) WW

It’s 1966. The Beatles have taken over the airways, Star Trek is in its first season on NBC, and 389,000 American troops are stationed in Vietnam.

A war is going on Argus, Illinois as well, between sixteen-year-old Billy Ray Fleener and his father. While his father dreams of Billy Ray joining the family business, Billy Ray dreams of moving to California, becoming a surfer, and getting into Margie Heinrich’s pants—not necessarily in that order. Instead, he gets a summer laying pipe and the dubious distinction of town hero after saving Purdy Boy, the mayor’s wife’s dachshund.

When his beloved uncle and role model Mitch is killed in combat, Billy Ray feels like he must leave Argus or be stuck there forever. With little more than the clothes on his back, he hops a bus for Helena, Arkansas to visit Mitch’s grave. Along the way he meets up with a cast of characters as varied and polarized as America itself, from a marine captain home on leave to a band of hippies bound for Graceland. Each teaches him something about love, loyalty, and the true meaning of freedom, but what Billy Ray really learns is that everyone has the power to define who they are. He may have left Argus a boy, but he returns a man.

King Biscuit by Michael Loyd Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very quick read, and there were several things about this book that captured my interest.  I enjoyed that Bloomington, Illinois was part of the setting.  My ex was from there, and I lived there for a time.  I was intrigued with all the historical references.  I don't know much about the Vietnam War era, but I am familiar with many things during that time period.  I was not offended at the references to God.  I felt that it reflected the popular thinking during that time period.  Being a musician myself, I rather enjoyed these sections, too.  I almost forgot.  I enjoyed the literary references, too.

I will be honest that I did not like the profanity, the morals, the alcohol/drug scenes, nor the sexual references.  I understand that all of this adds to the ambience of the time period of the novel, but I could have done without much if not all of it.  It bothers me that this appears to be geared towards upper high school, but I wouldn't want my daughter reading it even once she turned 18.  I wish that books such as this that are marketed to young adults would emphasize more of a positive environment in order to send the right message to young people, but that is just my opinion.  On the positive side, the author is very readable, and I believe many people would appreciate this boo,

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews


Billy Ray had never heard of Moby Grape or Jefferson
Airplane or Buffalo Springfield. And soon his thoughts had
drifted back to Argus, back to Moss. There wasn’t anything he
could do about that. He didn’t understand it and there wasn’t
anything to do about it. Casualties, Milt had said. Life piles up
casualties. Part of the deal. You move on as best you can and
avoid becoming a casualty yourself. But Billy Ray understood
it was still new to him and so he still was hurting inside for
Moss, but accepted it was out of his hands. Life, that great
maker of rules and decider of consequences, would sort it out.
Or so Billy Ray figured. He’d said his goodbye to Moss
and even prayed for him. Moss was the only one Billy Ray had
told other than his parents about hitting the road to see the
world beyond Argus; and Moss seemed relieved to talk about
something other than his own problems. He understood that
Billy Ray needed to escape, joking that he’d like to escape, too. When Wino pulled over for burgers in Cape Girardeau, the nearly-twins ate lustily, said hello to Billy Ray, then crawled back into their comas.

“Saving their voices, I suppose,” Billy Ray told Wino.

“Something like that.”

Michael Loyd Gray was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas,   but grew up in Champaign, Illinois. He earned a MFA in English from Western Michigan University and has taught at colleges and universities in upstate New York, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Texas. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a Journalism degree and was a newspaper staff writer in Arizona and Illinois for ten years, conducting the last interview with novelist Erskine Caldwell.

He is the winner of the 2005 Alligator Juniper Fiction Prize and the 2005 The Writers Place Award for Fiction. Gray’s novel Well Deserved won the 2008 Sol Books Prose Series Prize. His novel Not Famous Anymore was awarded a grant by the Elizabeth George Foundation and is forthcoming from Three Towers Press (2011). His novel December's Children was a finalist for the 2006 Sol Books Prose Series Prize and is forthcoming (2012) from Sol Books as the young adult novel King Biscuit.  He has written a sequel to Well Deserved called The Last Stop, and another novel called Blue Sparta.  Recently he finished a novel titled Fast Eddie. A lifelong 

another novel called Blue Sparta.  Recently he finished a novel titled Fast Eddie. A lifelong Chicago Bears and Rolling Stones fan, he lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and teaches as full-time online English faculty for South University, where he is one of the founding editors of the student literary journal Asynchronous and sponsor of an online readings series featuring fiction and poetry.




Author’s page on Amazon



Order the book:

Michael will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Keep up with the entire tour here.


  1. thank you for the giveaway


  2. Thank you for the honest review.


  3. I do like a good bildungsroman. I like Ruth's review...I think readers should be aware of the content so they avoid any surprises.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  4. This review was honest, but i really think the story was honest also, and needed to show the way things were in that time.

  5. Thank you for sharing an honest review :-)

  6. Thank you for your review. It is good to know that this might be geared towards an older YA crowd though the elements are as part of telling the story that is needing to be told

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  7. The blurb made it obvious that sex would be involved. No reason to put down a book.

  8. Thank you for the review.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Your Ad Here