Memoir Review  

Beyond the Night: A Remembrance
by Wayne Greenhaw
Black Belt Press, 1999
ISBN: 1-880216-68X

Wayne Greenhaw has captured a traumatic moment in his boyhood and gives it a spin as enchanting as Dorothy’s trip to OZ.  Every moment of this near-death experience was very real for him, and the story’s ending will make the reader rejoice. 

The story begins with Wayne’s father arriving back at their north Alabama home after a week on the road as a beauty supplies salesman.  A natural storyteller, his father tells the family about his trip and the mysterious gray-bearded gentleman who inspired the salesmen to go a journey to help those in need. 

A phone call the next day brings heartbreak, as the family learns that Paw-Paw has died.  The family travel into the foggy night to go to Wayne’s granddaddy’s farm.  But a logging truck hits their Studebaker.  The impact sends Wayne through the backseat window.         

Wayne wakes up alone in the forest.  His four-day journey has a magical quality as the animals of the woods appear to care for the lost boy.  They gently guide him to food as he calls on his Boy Scout skills of survival.  Wayne eats roots and berries, and attempts to catch a fish with his bare hands.  He moves forward to where he believes civilization will be by following a river and abandoned campsites.   

The mysterious gray-bearded gentleman finds him.  Wayne begins to levitate and flies to where his family is gathered and worrying about him.  The gray-bearded gentleman takes him from this out of body experience home – home to his family.  

Beyond the Night has a lovely lyrical quality that screams to be read aloud.  This would be an excellent choice for story time at libraries or schools; or would be a nice family reading one night.

 
Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

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