Gittin' Through
by Roy T. Matthews
Trafford Publishing

"Bored, he began listening to the conversation in the front seat but wondered why adults spent so much time talking about nothing."

Gittin' Through explores and seamlessly connects life stories of three generations of the Jordan family. It is situated in a historical and cultural context of one of the most remembered events in the history of the United States: the attack on Pearl Harbor. It offers reflection (William's life), war-time representation (James' life), and apparently the process of stepping out of the family's comfort zone (Jimmy's life).

As opposed to the usual topic of cultural turns in history and literary fiction, Matthews concentrates on the focal changes in a family, the microcosm of a society. While the author did not avoid cultural topics like gender roles, social stratifications, and race relations, he made them as backdrops and elevates family affairs as the mainstay of this book. The author's approach in presenting and developing the Jordans' lives has successfully created a different appeal on rugged individualism and boot-strap determination ethos.

In the first and last chapters, Matthews offers a succinct and imaginative way of introducing and providing a finale in Jimmy's life. While having a conversation with Jack and John, Jimmy stated his intent to change course: He will not manage the store his father James is currently overseeing that was founded by his grandfather William. Instead Jimmy plans to pursue a career in journalism, which according to him, is being supported by his parents. This critical change recognizes the effect of societal developments in the process of selection or the possibility of alternative choices from one generation to another.

While Jimmy may subscribe to the rugged individualism and boot-strap determination, he will apply it differently than his father and grandfather. The youngest of the Jordans has successfully showcased that his choice will not diminish the value and appositeness of the ethos. Rather, it will reinforce the belief that the same ethos is applicable up to this present age.

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