ISBN: 978-1-4685-4388-9 (e)
ISBN: 978-1-4685-4390-2 (hc)
ISBN: 978-1-4685-4389-6 (sc)
Throughout his life Scott Sweeney listened to his father’s stories of growing up in Point Marion, Pennsylvania to heading off to college and beyond. Sweeney describes Cheat River Three as “a true life adventure immersed in circumstantial fiction.”
Cheat River Three begins in 1946 at Point Marion where we are introduced to ten year old Eugene Briggs and his friends James Wilson and Katrina Garretson. This story chronicles the bond of friendship and how it and life changes with the passing of time.
Sweeney does a good job showing a reader the setting of southern Pennsylvania along the Cheat River. He also adapted a writing style close to the writers of the late 1940s and 1950s even using the same terminology such as ‘pigskin’ for football.
I personally believe that if Sweeney would have used more ‘active voice’ writing, the novel would have soared to the top of the book selling list as it would have been more readily recognized as a parallel to Stephen King’s The Body more commonly known for the 1986 film version as Stand By Me directed by Rob Reiner. As it reads with ‘passive voice’ the story leaves little to the reader’s imagination because every detail is given in the book.
As a historian I could not overlook this particular fact: Sweeney stated that Harry Truman was President during the summer of 1953. This is a fact that is easily checked with a simple Google search. Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated as President in January 1953.
A copy of this book was provided by Scott Baker Sweeney for an honest review. I rate Cheat River Three with 4 stars. I deducted one-half star for historical inaccuracies and one-half star for the ‘passive voice’ writing style that I believe took away from the overall story.