A Black Bear, Pennsylvania Story
What is it to be honorable? In the eyes of others? In your own heart? Is it what you’ve done or who you are? Jeff Smith was, as his bully of a brother-in-law Gene Engelhardt was fond of retelling, “what the cat dragged in.” A scruffy, bearded hippie Gene’s sister Bonnie had met and fallen deeply in love with decades ago at a Washington peace rally against the Vietnam War. Even shaved and doing whatever the Engelhardts wanted, his in-laws never accepted or approved of Jeff. Now, Jeff is saddled with a family, a dead end job, and, after Bonnie died of cancer, a mountain of debt. Only Jeff has a secret and a unique possession that could possibly solve his financial problems and help his daughter realize her dream, if he can ever overcome the guilt and shame that has haunted him for over thirty years.
Honor, a novella by Daniel Grotta, explores the human cost when patriotism, personal ethics and the deep bond of friendship collide. Honor is currently being developed into a theatrical play by the playwright David Zarko.
Honor is set in the fictional Pocono Mountains village of Black Bear, Pennsylvania. Black Bear was created as a literary folie à deux by Daniel Grotta and Sally Wiener Grotta. Both Daniel and Sally a have dipped into the same pool of invented locales and characters to write a series of separate stories and novels to paint a full picture of the diversity of life and relationships in a small mountain village.
Honor was the first Black Bear story. In her novel Jo Joe, Sally built on Daniel’s vision of the village, and “borrowed” Jeff Smith (the protagonist of Honor) and A.H. (his endearingly curmudgeonly father-in-law) for important secondary characters.
Daniel left two other novel manuscripts set in Black Bear, Adam V which is currently being edited and prepared for submission, and Black Bear One about the town’s volunteer ambulance company. Sally is also continuing to write new books set in Black Bear. Each Black Bear story stands apart from the others, as separate and complete.