Latest, though, has me wondering: Why do I put myself through this? Am I better for having read this tripe?
Amy Greene, born and raised in the foothills of East Tennessee's Smoky Mountains offers Bloodroot.
I have spent the past few weeks with she and her Myra, John, Byrdie. A cast of tens that, to the very core, remind me of exactly everyone I have ever met in my growing-up-mountains and nothing like I remember it. Maybe that was her intent.
The first sentence drew me completely in:
Myra looks like her mama, but prettier because of her daddy mixed in. She got just the right amount of both. The best thing about Myra's daddy was his eyes, blue as the sky. They'd pierce right through you.
I looked forward to spending time with Greene's story of these people. Lost in their world. The scrap of knee, the loss of summer, the promise of lakeside bliss in a trailer home that became a palace, for them and me.
SPOILER ALERT: Things do NOT go well. I stayed with them. Put the book (OK, kindle, but whatever) aside for periods of days when my life seemed like the last thing I needed was time with the Odoms.
But I returned. I became part of this family, and couldn't turn my back on them. I dreamt about them on nights when I hadn't read a chapter. I would return to sentences like: "It doesn't take as much to poison a horse as people think."
Strangers. Family. Friends.
One enters into a novel and becomes the unwritten character. If I could only have been there, things would have turned out differently, wouldn't they? Would I have stepped in? Shouting from the balcony in the theater? That rock, over there, described by the author, would have landed Just. So. on the head of that bastard.
And now, it is finished. All 5466 kindle "locations" of it.
I miss them. I don't know what happens next after the violent disaster that concludes this novel. But now it is a story I take with me. And want for better lives for Myra, her twins, and me.
Not tripe. Bloodroot. Whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison.