The Hearts of Men
Travis Hunter
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The Hearts of Men

Travis Hunter
Villard Books
272 pages
May 2001
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Three men, with totally different backgrounds and situations have life changing decisions to make.

Curled Up With a Good BookOne is trying to improve himself and become better than what he was before. Anyone who's tried to do this knows what struggles Prodigy Banks experiences. Whether it’s losing weight or giving up cigarettes, you face the choice of going back to bad habits or leaving them behind to better things.

Betrayal of the heart is one of the few things that can break a man. Not many men can accept their hand in it, no matter their actions preceding it. When workaholic Bernard Charles’ wife has an affair, he must decide to stay and work on their marriage or leave and start over with someone new.

The worse crossroads of all involves life and death. Winston “Poppa Doc” Fuller has lung cancer and a son who is less than he’d wish. Before Poppa Doc heads for the light he wants to see his son head toward manhood.

Three different men, three different quandaries. The first two are about choices you are about to make, how these choices could affect your life and those in it. The last one is about choices already made and their consequences. You wish things were different but can’t do anything to change them.

Out of all these men, I felt the most connected with Prodigy Banks. I’ve tried to give up bad habits and been dragged back by my own devices and I’ve felt the stinging comments of others who assume that I’ll always be the way I was before. Poppa Doc’s struggle is the hardest row to hoe. There is nothing Poppa Doc can do to ease his pain; his problems are totally centered on his son’s actions. There comes a point when, after crossing the Rubicon, you have to deal with a ripple or two slapping you on the back.

The differing viewpoints that Hunter gives his characters enriches the story. This shift in “voice” helped to add depth and proves Travis Hunter is a writer to watch in future. Compelling, heart-wrenching, and uplifting, The Hearts of Men shows the inner workings of a man’s heart, and his personal inner struggles to “do the right thing”. A book to use as a guide for life.

© 2002 by Kim Lightfoot for Curled Up With a Good Book

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