Review (not rated)
This book is one of the best I have read all year! Tawni O'Dell is a superb writer and tells the story of a young man's travails in an uncondescending and insightful way. Set in the Allegheny Mountains, amongst the wreckage of coal mines and families, her protagonist struggles to do the right thing for his sisters after their mother is sent to jail for the murder of their father. But a plot description like that does not do justice to Ms. O'Dells humanism. As she chronicles the discoveries that combine to wreck whatever peace the hero has ever known, there is learning shared in between the lines of the book that leaves one thoughtful if saddened. If I knew Andrew Vachss personally, I would recommend this book to him. Like him, Ms. O'Dell feels for the children and presents their pain and actions without sneering at them. This woman should be the Secretary of Education! I hope that she can keep up this level of quality in her future work, never an easy task.