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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pat Cronk's Friend Has a New Book


    A Rare Thing is a story of redemption and forgiveness.  In the small
New Mexico town of San Carlos in the 1950s and 60s, a motherless Chicano
youngster, Javier Jiménez, finds himself  forced into an early manhood.  The
boy's father, Nicolás, a Korean War veteran, loves and cares for his son
dearly.  But as he drinks himself into the depths of alcoholism, he
struggles through life wallowing in self-pity.

    Javier tries his best to cope not only with his own loneliness but
the day-to-day hardships of living with an alcoholic father.  Nicolás finds
his sobriety when he meets Ramona.  He marries her, thinking that will
fulfill his needs, but his hopes are short lived, soon discovering he can't
escape his loneliness.

    Into this setting enters Deborah Perkins.  She moves into Javier's
neighborhood.  Javier and Deborah eventually fall in love, much to the
chagrin of Deborah's mother, who doesn't' share her husband's fascination
for Southwestern culture and believes her daughter can do much better than
what Javier has to offer.

    Tragedy strikes, and Javier moves to California to live with an aunt
and uncle.  Deborah and he struggle to continue their relationship despite
the distance and Deborah's mother's prejudices.  Confused and unsure of his
future, Javier leaves college to join the Army and ends up in Vietnam, where
he sees his fellow soldiers dying every day.

    Reminiscing about his father, he must face his own mortality, as he
grapples with his own identity.  Nicolás's spirit appears at a critical
moment with words to give Javier strength.  Contemplating the real
possibility of his death, he reconciles with himself, gaining strength from
visions of his father as a good man who had more than his share of bad luck.
Javier comes to grips with whether he has forgiven him for his frailties and
failure as a parent.


Rudy Apodaca, a native of New Mexico, lives with his wife, Nancy, in Austin,
Texas.  He began his career as a trial attorney and practiced law in Las
Cruces, New Mexico for 22 years before serving as an appellate judge on the
New Mexico Court of Appeals for about 14 years, over two of those years as
Chief Judge.  When he's not writing, he divides his time between providing
mediation/arbitration services, doing volunteer work, and spending time with
his children and grandchildren.  He's the author of several essays.  For
additional information, visit his website at

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