Book Review · Historical Fiction · OnlineBookClub

Never Cry Again by Jim Cole


Genre: Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 286
Publication Date: July 12, 2016

Rating: 5-star-review out of 5
OBC Rating: 4 out of 4 stars
Themes: Abuse/Neglect, Overcoming struggles, Losing innocence, Segregation, Acceptance, Survival
To Learn More About the Book, Click: Never Cry Again on OBC Bookshelves

*This was part of the Book of the Day Program*

downloadIn the decade of the 1930’s, young Drew has never known love from his mother. Instead, he has come to know love from the black community that has surrounded him. However, his unsupportive and neglectful mother pulls Drew from the ones he loves and is forced to live in terrible conditions: barely food to eat, torn clothing to wear, and a mother who is constantly drunk and entertaining various ‘uncles’ in her bedroom.

Left with no other choice, after being sexually assaulted and thrown out of his house, this ten-year-old embarks on a journey like no other. He jumps in a boxcar and accepts what the future holds for him. At this moment in this young boy’s life he vows that no matter what happens to him, he will never cry again.


This debut novel is worthy of so much praise! It has so many of the elements that I look forward to in a book. Great character development, exciting plot, important themes, and a read that I learned a lot from.

Drew. What can I say? He has experienced so much in his life that no child (or anyone, really) should experience. He never knew his father, his mom regrets him being born, he’s known starvation, has had to fend for himself, lost loved ones, and sexually assaulted. With all these experiences, though, this young boy never lost the one thing that made him special – Drew’s friendliness and acceptance of all. In a time when African Americans were poorly thought of, Drew loved and trusted every single African American he came in contact with. This put him in odds with some, but he never faltered in the love he had for his real family.

The plot is steady and realistic. Though I kept thinking, how can this boy be put through so much, yet hold such a beautiful heart? I have come to realize it is because he is a strong person and realizes life can always be better. Through of his turmoils, he’s never given up hope that he will one day find a way of living that will not be so upsetting. There were times when my heart was racing, times when my heart felt sorrow, and times when my heart was elated. How can I not love a read like that?

The writing itself is very easy to follow. I felt the author captured the innocence and mentality of a mature ten-year-old extremely well. Even though, the reader follows Drew as he gets older, his kind and welcoming voice did not change. I did find, at times, the writing to be a bit rigid, but it did not take away from the plot itself.

I mentioned I learned some things while I read. I apologize for seeming ignorant about these historical events, but here is what I learned:

  • The detainment camps in the US during WWII – Japanese were taken here when Pearl Harbor was attacked
  • Eleanor Roosevelt’s involvement in desegregation
  • Alamogordo’s nuclear test bomb, code name – Trinity

Overall, it was a pleasure to read Never Cry Again. Not only does the story show a boy who overcame all of the struggles he faced, but it gives the readers a glimpse of what life was like during the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Absolutely! To adults who enjoy a good historical read about a boy who overcame his life struggles.

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