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Whatever happened to Julia of ‘The Life of Julia’ fame? A new novel tells

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Julia, the faceless “beneficiary” of Obama’s cradle-to-grave nanny state, may have receded from the consciousness of most Americans, but Alabama novelist J. Pepper Bryars is not one of them. Not only has Julia remained alive in his imagination, but she is now a character in novel he has written. The work, the first in a planned series of 12 books — one for each of Julia's life depicted in the ad — is titled "A Forgotten Man."

The series, Bryars notes, “tells the rest of Julia's story, showing the complete impact of an increasingly large and powerful central government on the lives of Julia and those around her.”

In Bryars’ fictional world, Julia is the three-year-old daughter of Jack and Donita Bosarge, whose life is thrown into turmoil after environmental regulations force a seafood company in their small town to close, costing Jack his job and sending his family deep into debt. Jack is unable to find gainful employment, Donita loses hope, and by degrees their way of life crumbles beneath a society that has forgotten working-class men and women.

The book’s title (title page shown here) is borrowed from that of an 1883 essay by William Graham Sumner. In it, Sumner wrote:

Now who is the Forgotten Man? He is the simple, honest laborer, ready to earn his living by productive work. We pass him by because he is independent, self-supporting, and asks no favors. We do not remember him because he makes no clamor; but I appeal to you whether he is not the man who ought to be remembered first of all.

Of the novel and the campaign that inspired it, Byars writes, “Where the ad promotes only the good intentions of a large government and deep regulation, the novel reveals the true cost on the middle class.”

The Borsages’ tale is a sad one of injustice, hardship, and desperation. It is a story reflected in the real lives of many American families who feel broken, alone, and — indeed — forgotten.

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