Almost Midnight: An American Story

2nd Semester Book Report


The non-fiction book that I have read is called, Almost Midnight: An American Story. The author of this book is named Michael W. Cuneo, I chose this book for main reasons. Some of the main reasons are, 1.) It took place right in here in Reeds Spring Missouri / Southwest Missouri, where we live. 2.) It is what I like to read most of the time. The books I like to read are murder stories, mysteries, books of abuse, and books that have all of that together are even better. I know it sounds weird but those kinds of books excite me. 3.) The librarian described this book very well when she was telling us good non-fiction stories available in the out library.


Almost Midnight is about a man named Darrell Mease who graduated from Reeds Spring High School. Darrell was one of those perfect students that everyone wanted to be, he was nice, smart, had good grades, helpful to other students. In some ways he was a perfect friend. Although Darrell was a good student he felt the same exact way about school as other students did. He would have much rather been fishing or hunting. Throughout the book many people that were interviewed for this book to be made they stated that he was the best hunter that they had ever met in their life.


Once Darrell graduated he met a younger girl that was still in high school named Joyce and they hit it off right away. That's where one of my first big events comes in. Once Joyce turned 17 and had been dating Darrell for a year or so, they got married. Their marriage turned out to not be what the had hoped for it to be. They fought a lot. But soon Darrell got a letter pretty much saying that he was one of the men that had been picked to go into the military. He of course got put in, hoping he wouldn't have been. After saying his goodbyes with his wife and family down in Mease Hollow (in Reeds) Darrell is heading towards the base he was a signed to for a year. Darrell had never done drugs and was never a drinker until he was introduced to them in the war. He started this because he missed his old life so much that he thought he nothing else to do. He fought every single erg he had to cheat on Joyce when he was gone. Once he got back everyone knew he had changed even if Darrell didn't. Soon Joyce told Darrell she DID cheat on him while he was gone and nothing was the same. For months they fought, some near death fights where guns and knifes were drawn at each other. They soon divorced. And Joyce got custody of their 3 children that they had.


After a while Darrell got more and more into drugs, alcohol, and fighting. He also got into finally finishing the house that he and Joyce had always dreamed of since he has time without the kids and ex-wife to worry about. Soon at a party Darrell was invited to he met a woman described as bigger but beautiful. They hit it off right away, and soon began living together after dating for two weeks. Both Darrell and Donna's, the woman, parents loved their child's partner. Soon they were married, and just like the marriage with Joyce things weren't very well. This marriage was definitely less violent than the first, but there were still a few fights that came close. The two had 2 children, then soon Joyce called Darrell asking him to pick up the three children that she kept in Huston, TX with her and her new husband because everything was too hard with the three of them and everything else on top of that. After having the 3 of them here in Reeds for a couple weeks, the felt unloved and neglected. The next 3 years was very hard for them, moving from Darrell's parent's house, back to Darrell's house, to Huston with their mom, and repeating the cycle. In the mixed of all this, Darrell and Donna were not doing very well. That leads to my second big event. After fighting for so long Donna decided to end the marriage and took all of the children with her leaving Darrell with nothing once again. This hit Darrell a lot harder this time thinking to himself that he is a failure at this kind of stuff. He gets into drugs and alcohol even heavier this time. Even finds new kinds this time. His life is going down hill even more at this point leading him to make bad decisions, that will change life's forever.


Later in the book is when his whole life goes down hill, leading to my last big event of the book. The main reason why this book was written. Darrell is tested and decides to go on a shooting spree. I'm not going to give names, because you will find out when you read the book. (hint, hint) But the officers on scene decide that Darrell needs to be put on death row because of how awful everything went down. Which is the right decision, someone should not be able to get away with something like that. But luckily for Darrell he gets in touch with the pope who saves him from his terrors of dying on death row. You will have to read the book to learn of Darrell's life in more depth and to be able to feel like you're there while everything's happen just like I did.


This book has to be one of the best books I have ever read. I am NOT a reading person and this book actually made me excited for reading day every Friday. This book has many details on events leading up to the disaster that went down. Once you finally get to the moment in the book you've been waiting for, you can kinda see what his life was like before and what made him do this. You can definitely tell that he will end up doing something crazy by the way his life was described before.

Did I love it or not?

I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was so interesting and entertaining to hear about what went down right here in Reeds Spring. It was fascinating to read about Darrell going to places that I myself have been to such as, Reeds Spring High School, Shepherd Of The Hills, and many many more. Also like I said in the intro, I really enjoy books like this with murder stories or even real/ true stories.

Would I recommend this book?

I would definitely recommend Almost Midnight. It is a very interesting topic to think or talk about here in Reeds Spring and going to the same high school as Darrell Mease makes it even more interesting. If you like the same topics I like then this is definitely the book for you! Murders and real life stories are always the best kind of story and that's exactly what you will get if you read Almost Midnight. If I were you I would read it!!!