Praise for A Boy Called Combustion:
“A Boy Called Combustion is a downright funny, while poignant, tale of
family survival and patience told by a masterful storyteller—a unique
coming of age for a young man in Mississippi that will reach readers well
beyond the Deep South. Dennis the Menace ain’t got nothing on Billy
Keeton.”—DARDEN NORTH, winner of the Independent Publishers Book
Association award for Southern Fiction and author of Wiggle Room
“Bill Keeton’s memoir is chock full of wit and homespun wisdom, a modern-
day Mark Twain recalling his youth in 1940s Mississippi. Through Keeton’s
vibrant prose and charming stories we see how the values of a large and
loving Southern family shaped a rascal channeling Tom Sawyer and Huck
Finn into an insightful doctor who has served his community for over 40 years.
A Boy Called Combustion will leave you yearning for a time when families
lived next door and the Saturday double-feature was the only babysitter you
ever needed.” —LARRY KAHN, author of The Jinx and King of Paine
Bill Keeton—nicknamed “Combustion” for reasons readers of the book will immediately understand—grew up as part of the Fondren family, a clan large enough to give its name to a section of Jackson, Mississippi. Accidentally knocking down his grandparents’ garage, “helping” neighbors paint their house, and denting his mother’s brand new stove with his BB gun, young Billy constantly surprised all who knew him.
The book’s 31 linked stories range in time from the author’s early childhood through his years in college. They savor the vivid imagination behind a child’s comic exploits, the wisdom gained in the aftermath, and the colorful family and friends who shared both the lessons and the fun.
A Boy Called Combustion is rooted in the Mississippi of the 1940s, where folks never cook from prepared mixes and kids have a weekly date with the movie serials. Yet it is also a timeless American story of life, love, laughter, growing up, and the gifts of family strength. Anyone who has ever planned a childhood prank or suffered the punishment that followed…experienced the delights and challenges of a large extended family…or looked back with gratitude at the influence of remarkable role models, will enjoy and be inspired to relive their own pasts through its pages.