Author of Newly Released 'The Walking Man' Weighs in on Hillary Clinton/Mitt Romney 'Village' Snit

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The re-release of Hillary Clinton's New York Times bestseller "It Takes a Village" is all about politics. Or is it? Constance O. Irvin, author of newly released "The Walking Man," says the real issue is America's memory of a time when children were safer.

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A newly released novel by Constance O. Irvin, "The Walking Man," set in the innocence of 1950, hits at the heart of Hillary Clinton's assertion that "It Takes a Village" to raise a child.

In April, Mitt Romney took a dig at Hillary Clinton's vision for children in America. He claimed that the "it takes a village to raise a child" concept was wrong. Instead, he said, "It takes a family."

"Many of us remember a time when we had parents and a village," says Irvin, an author whose background includes teaching at both high school and college levels. "The parents instilled values and the village kept the children safe."

Irvin spent her formative years near Birmingham, Alabama, in a town where the village concept was a way of life. Children were free to roam the streets because everyone from the shopkeeper on the corner to the patrolling policeman watched out for the kids.

"And they didn't just make sure you were safe," Irvin laughs. "You never did anything wrong because if you did, your neighbor would whip your butt as fast as your mom or dad!"

This seemingly mythic world has been recreated in Irvin's latest novel, "The Walking Man." Set in rural Alabama in 1950, the book recalls a single summer from the narrator's youth. Mornings were spent gawking at the general store's display of pinwheels and caramels while afternoons were spent wading in the Cahaba River. The book conveys a sense of freedom that children these days rarely, if ever, experience.

But even those long-ago days knew evil. Things go bad when Maggie and her friends follow Wallis Walker, a mysterious figure who spends his days pacing for miles around town. Although the kids have spied on him before, when they follow him into the woods, their game turns deadly.

One of the children does not return. When Maggie goes out again with her brother, she finds her friend's body at the foot of a waterfall. The girl has been strangled and Maggie can't understand why. "There's other things you don't know about," her older brother tells her. "You don't know about bad people...not bad ones like this."

Today, most of our children know about those kinds of bad people. They have to if they want to stay safe. But, as Clinton says in "It Takes a Village," "children are not rugged individualists." America needs the corner shopkeepers and the neighborly discipline now more than ever.

In "The Walking Man," Maggie returns to Taneytown more than fifty years later to keep a promise she made while still a child. The general store has become a Dollar General and the river seems smaller than what she remembers. "But then," the book says, "most things are smaller than what we remember."

After reading "The Walking Man," you'll see that the village concept is both smaller and larger than we think.

Information on Constance O. Irvin and her books is available at "The Walking Man" is being featured at Barnes & Noble in Ft. Myers, starting in November.

Irvin is available to speak on childhood and community issues. Her background includes work as a protective services case worker for the State of Michigan. She was also a secondary school teacher and an adjunct college instructor. She brings a caring, comprehensive viewpoint to her presentations.

After indulging her passion for teaching, Connie Irvin spent ten years as a freelance news correspondent for a CBS affiliate. She traveled extensively to cover everything from murder to arson, American villains to African zebras. Her first novel, "The Seasons of a Heart," follows two women who struggle to survive after their plane crashes in the frozen Wisconsin wilderness. Like "The Walking Man," "Seasons" explores the elusive emotion called love along with themes of family, intolerance, and the inherent goodness of mankind.

Author appearances: 239-454-7328 or 269-598-4505
Email: author @

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