NOW IT CAN BE TOLD.
TThere was something oppressive, malignant in Charlie Bogle's idyllic world.
Something he did not understand. Something that left him feeling loathed,
exploited, worthless. Something that he was instructed to introduce as. . .his
mother. Well, at least there were the oaks. They were outside his window at night, and in the fields he walked
through on his way to school, in old tennis shoes with cardboard in the
soles. They were his pillars, his bulwark, his friends, his family, and it
crushed the boy when he finally had to leave them. “The Oaks” is the story of
Charlie's sad, crazy, hilarious and heroic struggle as he grows up in Beatles-echoing, 1960’s
California bedroom-community America. A miraculous, almost magical country town where lions roar like morning
roosters, rockets break the late night sky, and the gigantic summer days are
made of nothin'-to-do. Rense writes with grace and poignancy in this lyrical,
touching novel of triumph.
a tale of triumph.
"You may laugh and cry on
the same page."---Sherm Plepler, Los Angeles.
interviewed about "The Oaks"
in Ventura Star
Sawtelle' Vs.'The Oaks'
by Barbara Weeks here.
Susan Christian Goulding's
Daily Breeze column on "The Oaks"
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
"This book deserves to be read by hundreds
of thousands of people It is a gem that talks to a diverse group
of people: those who grew up in dysfunctional families(!);
Southern Californians who will love the suburban anecdotes;
teens and everybody who has ever been a teen with all the
awkwardness those years impart. It's also quite funny. Readers
simultaneously laugh while groaning over these horribly
insensitive 'adults' raising Charlie, who is much more adult
than they are."
---Susan Christian Goulding, columnist for the Daily
People Mag. Correspondent.
“A masterly blending of nostalgia, wit, and keen observation as
revealed through the all too human heart of a boy struggling to
find his place in the world of the tumultuous Sixties. The
result? Sheer magic.”---Gary L. Coffman, Visalia.
"Staggeringly well written. . .sweet. . .funny. . .sad. . .elegaic.
. .not a thought nor sentence out of place."
---Keith Snider, San Francisco.
“Rip Rense faithfully captures a precious moment in time, a
bittersweet 60’s coming-of-age story, set against a musical
backdrop that sweeps from 'La Boheme' to 'Sgt. Pepper,' that makes
many delicious stops along the way. I stayed up to finish the
last 100 pages.”
---Dave Allen, Thousand Oaks.
"My favorite part of the book (and perhaps this is the aim of
all writers) is the last poem. I was touched so deeply that I'm
going to have it framed and will enjoy hanging it in my home."
---Charles Moritz, Texas.
"It was also very funny, so I got to laugh as well as shed a
tear or two. The poems were outstanding. You're a great writer.
Let me know when your next book is published."
---Marge Hall, Menifee, CA.
"It’s Tom Sawyer without Huck Finn and the Mississippi River—a boy
living a complicated, sometimes secret life underneath the radar
of the self-involved
adults all around him."
breath of fresh air. Poignant. Funny. Eloquent."
---Barbara Weeks, Oceanside, CA.
“I cannot put it down.”---Jeannine Mendoza, Los Angeles.
“A grand book.”---Gay Ausmus, Thousand Oaks, CA.
"I didn't want it to end."---Ella Frederickson,
St. Petersburg, Fla.
"Rense sure pulled some things out my brain that I didn't know
were still there."---Fred Hemmer, Fla.
"Very entertaining. Full of authenticity, wit and modesty."
---Geneen Lynch, Fla.
"The novel's pages are filled with pathos, digestible only by
the ever-present wit, honesty and innocence of the young boy
himself, as he reflects in a matter-of-fact way upon his
distorted life, and desperately attempts to interpret the chaos
around him. Yet, through the consistent, comforting
companionship of music, a faithful family dog, the kindness of a
well-meaning and protective big brother, heroic teachers, and
the camaraderie of some childhood pals, he gains human dignity
and purpose. Perhaps it is ultimately the wisdom and strength of
the omnipresent, deep-rooted oak trees that give him his
greatest solace, and model for endurance."
"It was surprising how much
rain they kept out, the trees. Only fat teardrops of water fell around him,
slapping the floor of thickly packed old leaves and grass, while just a few
feet away, the rain curtain remained drawn. A feeling of peace stole over
the boy. He felt suddenly safe, secure, even though the grayness of the day
was fast waning into deep dusk. He knew this place, and it knew him. It was
always there for him, even in a storm. He smiled inwardly, and wondered how
it was that he could feel so comfortable up in an oak tree in a rainstorm,
more comfortable than in his own home. Then it hit him: this was home."