What Daniel Did With His Life follows Arkansas country boy Ben Goodman through childhood and adolescence, focusing primarily on the period when he crosses paths with the book’s other protagonists, Pennsylvania-raised brothers Ethan and Daniel Henry. Each boy has a compelling story, and when the stories are set side-by-side then merged, the result is both heartwarming and hopeful. The book is both a coming of age novel and a love story told in fine, understated Southern tradition, reminiscent of Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor. Excerpt: Daniel gently ran a hand across Ben's stomach, considering the possibilities. Ben shivered slightly, and Daniel wondered again if he was awake. They lay body to body in physical uncertainty until eventually Daniel asked, “You sleeping?” Ben didn’t answer. And he didn’t move when Daniel snuggled closer to him and slid his head just below Ben’s chin, resting on his chest. Daniel could hear Ben’s heartbeat.