Fred Chappell's novel, I Am One of You Forever, is a a book that will stay with you forever. You will laugh and you will cry. The story is about about a young boy, Jess, growing up in the Appalachian mountains. Jess lives with his father, a trickster if there ever was one, his mother, and grandmother. They live on a large farm, where work is plenty. Hoping to get some help, the grandmother sends off to an orphanage for a young man who can help around the farm.
At first, Jess's father and the new man don't get along, but their relationship quickly changes as they find a common bond: trickery and humor. Honestly, I couldn't stop laughing throughout the first few chapters. So much of the story reminded me of my own family, specifically exaggerating situations for the effect of a laugh.
I did warn you earlier the story will also make you cry. An important member of the family dies leaving the remainder of the family to mourn in silence. The most elegant chapter of the book is when Jess describes the grief he feels. He is unable to talk about it with any of his family members, nor are they able to talk about the death with him, yet he recognizes grief is in every corner of the house; it's inescapable, and it affects everyone.
I highly recommend Chappell's novel. At only 185 pages long, you'll find yourself wishing this tender story to continue.