What went wrong in America’s Hometown?
Two murders within 6 weeks from each other committed by teenagers is a major problem presented in the heart of America. When Ron Powers heard of these crimes, one happening in his hometown, Hannibal, MO, his eyes were opened to this problem of today’s children and traveled back to find out just what went wrong. Growing up in Hannibal, considered by many to be ‘America’s Hometown’, the author never experienced greed, hate, or envy as a child. The most responsibility he had was being a traffic officer and save children from getting hit by passing cars as they crossed the street. What baffles Ron Powers is what has happened to today’s youth, what has changed in the way children are raised these days that create this loss of innocence, which is why he set out to try and find out what happened through interviews in Hannibal. I feel he successfully expresses his ideals on society through memories of his own compared to the two recent murders and everything he finds out through the interviewing.
Tom and Huck Don’t Live Here Anymore: Childhood Murders in the Heart of America is about Ron Power’s reaction to the two murders in 6 weeks. He travels back to Hannibal to piece together what reasons were behind the reckless brutality of the children murderers. He begins with character development, explaining who these children were and the events pieced together of what they have done, along with a brief history of each. After this, Powers begins his discussion about the quest he set out on to find out what caused their behavior. Through interviewing family members, friends, witnesses, and people of Hannibal, he parallels the stories with that of his memories of his own childhood. He uses his personal memories to compare to the childhood of those involved in the murders. Although Ron Powers does not seem to wrap the paralleled stories together very well at the end to make a final conclusion, he makes good sense in how he views the problems of child committed crimes.
One good point Powers makes is the essence of setting, the time he grew up in relation to location to now when a sense of location is lost between cities. He establishes that Hannibal used to be the model home town of America with the times of Tom and Huck, when everybody knew everybody, and there was a deep embodied trust among each and every citizen for each other. This is how Powers remembered growing up, in the Tom and Huck ideal, which is not what he found after returning to Hannibal. There was no families barbequing, children playing in the streets, or a center of the town, instead he found the town hopeless and without any central community. Powers feels that this lack of unity and family linked directly to the children raising themselves without morals, running free in the streets without rule or law. When they do not be part of...