Book Review: The Front Porch Prophet

As southern as a slice of peach pie and nearly as sweet, this amusing yet piquant tale set in Sequoyah, Georgia revolves around the lifelong friendship of Eugene Purdue and Arthur John Longstreet. Buddies since a playground dustup against the class bully, Eugene and A.J. eventually drifted their separate ways as the demands of work, family and daily life grew. A chance encounter with Eugene’s ex-wife motivated A.J. to visit his old friend where it was revealed that he was dying of cancer and worse yet, Eugene asked A.J. to put him out of his misery when the time came.

The surprise news coupled with Eugene’s request soon had A.J. taking a closer look at his own life and their many adventures together as he attempts to come to terms with the grim realities of life and death.

Riddled with humor like the town’s only restaurant that frequently managed to overlap the daily specials with scripture so the signs ended up reading “Christ Died for the Best Chicken in the County Drive-In” or “Jesus is the Reason of the $3.99 Mexican Feast,” Atkins maintains an upbeat tone despite the subject matter. There’s a fire department that has never actually put a fire out, a sheriff who couldn’t locate the school bus A.J. and Eugene stole as a prank and a cook incapable of making drinkable coffee.  These and a host of other entertaining characters provide a warm view into the mind of a man trying to make sense of an unfair world making this a sweet read.


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