Bell Hammers: The True Folk Tale of Little Egypt
by Lancelot Schaubert
About the Book:
Remmy and Beth grow up in Bellhammer, Illinois during the time that oil and coal companies rob the land, stripping if of everything that made it paradise.
Remmy’s Grandad teaches him how to pull outrageous pranks on his neighbors, friends, and foes. Under his Daddy’s guidance he starts a construction company, which depends on contracts from the Texarco Oil Company.
Remmy has a fascination with “Robin Hood”, castles, and a round table. He builds his on band of “merry men” carpenters.
Then a faulty Texarco Oil derrick falls down on their house and poisons their neighborhood’s well.
When Texarco refuses to take responsibility for the poisoned well, Remmy hatches a plan that results in one prank after another, until he and his merry men pull the “world’s greatest prank”.
Remmy is an endearing character, whom I cared about and rooted for from the very beginning of the story. His quirky personality was often humorous.
Lancelot Schaubert’s writing took the reader into the past and spanned the life of Remmy in Bellhammer, Illinois from 1941 through 2012. His writing brought clear feelings of nostalgia to the reader. Remmy and Beth took the reader back to simpler times that showed no times were without their troubles. The author did an excellent job capturing the dialogue of the time and area as well.
Remmy also often spoke to the “Good Lord” in ways that sometimes seemed to mock God. He also heard the “Good Lord” speak to him, and he didn’t always listen to or properly interpret what the “Good Lord” told him to do, just like any flawed, sinful human being. Remmy learned many lessons throughout the book and his life.
Lancelot Schaubert did an excellent job portraying a neighborhood’s struggle with big companies in another place and time. He made it relatable and entertaining. His sharing of true events, and maybe some familial myths, stir feelings of nostalgia, comradery, sympathy, and empathy, even as they occasionally make the reader laugh out loud.
This story does include profanity and crude humor as well. However, if you are a history buff or a person who enjoys cheering for the underdog, I recommend you read Bell Hammers.
I give this story 4 stars.