Set on a farm in the Midwest in the late 1950s, Vencil is a charming coming-of-age novel, narrated by six year-old Jimmie.
Born to a close-knit family of Czech immigrants, life is sometimes hard. When his Jimmie’s uncle Vencil disappears one day without warning, the family—Jimmie, his brother Ron and his parents—leave the shelter of their farm to find him. It is against the background of the search for Vencil that we see Jimmie grow up.
Frank Shima writes an intriguing story with compelling characters. Like Jeannette Walls in her memoir, The Glass Castle, Shima does a fine job of comparing and contrasting city and country life through the eyes of a child.
Reviewed by Zach Halper