Fairhope author reads work at Brewton Library

Published 8:02 am Wednesday, June 22, 2005

By By JULIE RUSSELL-The Brewton Standard
Sonny Brewer is an Everyman of sorts. At his book reading last week at the Brewton Public Library, he casually donned a white button-up shirt, blue jeans and streamlined tan boots. Talking about his book, he was personable and charismatic, engaging the eager audience with his every word.
Brewer is author of "The Poet of Tolstoy Park," which was published in March, and a resident of Fairhope, Ala. His book tells the story of Henry Stewart, an interesting man who, at age 67, was told he would live only a year more and should seek out a warmer climate to ease the effects of impending death.
Stewart chose to move from Idaho to Fairhope, where he built a round house out of hand-poured cement blocks. He defeated the doctor's predictions, and lived to be 88-years-old, staying in Fairhope for 19 of those years.
Stewart built his curious round house in an effort to build a legacy. Living each day fearing his death, he set his days to the backdrop of novels by Leo Tolstoy, a well-known Russian author. This is significant because Tolstoy was also very much concerned with death. He once boldly said, "Any man over 35 for whom death is not a main consideration is a fool."
Brewer first became interested in the real-life Stewart after reading an article about him and his house, which still stands and can be visited today. Brewer said Stewart and all his "oddities and eccentricities" immediately captivated him.
The Poet of Tolstoy Park weaves together bits of fact – Brewer said he wanted to draw a vivid but true portrait of Stewart – and fiction (according to Brewer, a story can't be told without embellishments).
Since March, Brewer has remained busy. He went on a two-month national book tour, and even nailed a movie deal for the book. Brewer continues to write, and his next book will be titled A Sound Like Thunder.
Lila Bogan, Brewton resident who enjoyed the book told Brewer, "The minute you start reading your book you love it. I stayed up all night to finish it."
For an Everyman, Brewer sure has a way with words, and a knack for inspiring readers.

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