Changing names and dates to protect the townspeople — and himself — Jones attacks the story like a journalist, interviewing sources and revisiting crime scenes.
But sprinkled throughout this journalistic narrative are the intensely personal recollections and reflections of Jones himself, the effect of these events on his own life, and his escape from Greenwood, a place where the people who never leave are simply “waiting this thing out.” On the surface he appears to have not played even a minor role in the events of 1985. But a close read suggests that Jones is masking major secrets, secrets which prove that he already has answers to most of the questions he’s asking.
The thing is, though, the answers don’t really matter. What does matter are the deeper truths Jones unearths. Whatever happened in real-life 1985 Greenwood, it’s no more true than what happens in Jones’ fictionalized version, where small-town Texas is laid bare, stripped of its cotton and its façade.
Growing Up Dead in Texas is one of the truest, and finest, war stories you’re likely to read.