It began so well!
I enjoyed reading this book and meeting the rural Kentuckians. The novel was going along so well and then it wasn't. The story took off in too many directions, plots and sub-plots, and never came together. I reread the book and still found much of it implausible. Truth may be stranger than fiction, but this is fiction! An implausible ending tacked on to a story of poverty, racism, hardship.
That said, you would not be wasting your time if you read this book. Nuggets of simple truths and wisdom are there. The gritty character of Olivia is memorable.
Rated of 5
by Gwendolyn D. (Houston, TX)
A compelling protagonist but a flawed plot
In the backwoods of Kentucky, Olivia Harker Cross struggles to raise her grandson while living with her cantankerous mother and maintaining the family grocery business. Everythings fine in this unconventional family until poachers start killing the Alaskan silver wolves brought to Kentucky by Olivias grandfather. As Olivia investigates the poachers, she uncovers decades-old secrets and must protect her family from the resulting dangers.
The story unfolds from the first-person point of view as Olivia narrates current events and mixes in memories from her childhood. Olivias unique voice is the center of gravity for this novel; its a constant and compelling force:
"All in all, I have a crazy ma'am who owns a hundred dusty Bibles, a leggy boy with a too-soft heart, and no man to bed down with. And an Alaskan silver dying on my kitchen floor."
As engaging as it is, Olivias voice cannot compensate for this novels awkward plotting. The action in the final third of the book feels contrived, loaded with convenient coincidences and overly dramatic scenes. This final section, which reads like a thriller, is out of character with the pacing and style of the first two-thirds of the book. As I mentioned in a prior post, Sweeping Up Glass has the best first chapter Ive read recently. Although the rest of the book didnt live up to the initial promise of the first chapter, Sweeping Up Glass is an enjoyable and worthwhile read, particularly for those who like reading mysteries.
Rated of 5
by Theresa R. (Sierra Madre, CA)
There aren't too many books that can grab my attention right away, but this was one of them. The writing style was great - the author's character portrayals and her descriptive prose made this a very easy read and kept me wanting more. I think this would be a great book club read as it would garner a lively discussion!
Rated of 5
by Christine H. (Canton, OH)
Sweeping Up Glass
I found this book to be a very easy read, easy to follow, and well written. The author kept my attention making me feel very much part of the story with her description of the area of Kentucky where the story took place. The suspense at the end in particular made me not want to put the book down.
This book would be an especially good book for summer reading, on vacations or just to pass a rainy weekend. The story would be appealing to the young adult/older teen however, the sexual descriptions in the last chapter may be objectionable to some.
Rated of 5
by Chrisanne K. (Cape Coral, Florida)
I can't get no ..Satisfaction
I love great narratives and characters that ignite passion and a plot that is dappled with factual fiction and this book has all that...however, it comes up short. I do think that it was delivered hastily and could have...should have... delved deeper into its own story...Instead of leaving me wanting more it has left me wanting to know more and knowing that it can't happen...kinda like waking in the middle of a great dream.
Rated of 5
by Cynthia (Aurora CO)
I was swept up by the force of Wall's protangonist, Olivia Harker. Gritty, combative, dirt-poor, this back-woods Kentuckian is both blessed and cursed with an innate and absolute sense of right and wrong. That's not to say she doesn't do wrong, she just knows what she's doing is wrong. Olivia is brutally honest about her life and her relationships - her love for her "Pap" and the boy Will'm, the hatred of her mother, her friendships with the "coloreds" of her hometown and even in her protectiveness of the silver-faced wolves that live in her mountains. I'd like to think that Olivia and I would be friends.
However, the book is flawed by its ambitiousness. Wall has too many stories to tell here - the life and relationships of Olivia, the plight of the blacks during the early decades of the 20th Century, and the mystery - and they can't be told in 278 pages without neglecting one or two. I think it's the mystery which is the most cheated. The actual mystery isn't presented until the last quarter of the book - although in hindsight there were clues of an upcoming mystery, they were too subtle to put me on alert. By the time the mystery is presented, it's too late and the ending feels rushed and unsatisfying. Which is unfortunate because the storyline is interesting and the characters well worth knowing.
I wouldn't have classified this book as a mystery, but as a woman's book. For a book club that likes strong women heroines, this would be a good read.
Rated of 5
by Vicki (York PA)
Good read once the action starts!
In my opinion Sweeping Up Glass was a good read but not one that I would highly recommend. The plot seems somewhat disjointed and we never get to really explore any one issue very deeply. The relationships between the characters also seem to be a bit unreal and that may be because we never get to delve too deeply there either.
U.S. ebook sales up in 2012, but rate of growth is slowing(May 16 2013) In 2012, trade book sales (i.e. non academic book sales) rose 6.9%, to $15.049 billion, and e-book sales continued to grow, although the rate of growth...