"I learned, slowly, that if you don't look at the world with perfect vision, you're bound to get yourself cooked." Having come within an inch of her life, Ruth Dahl is determined to take a good look at itand to figure out whether, in fact, she's to blame for the mess. Pegged the loser in a small-town family that doesn't have much going for it in the first place, Ruth grows up in the shadow of her brilliant brother, trying to survive in a world of poverty and hardship. Matt's brain is his ticket out of Honey Creek. Ruth, without options, cleaves instead to her tough, half-crazy mother, May, and eventually to Ruby, the sweet but slightly deranged young man she loves, marries, and supports. Ruth spots stains at Trim 'N Tidy dry cleaners, bowls at the Town Lanes, and tries in vain to keep the peace at home between May, whose lashing criticisms blow through the cramped house with gale force, and Ruby, who spends his days getting stoned and watching reruns of
Bewitched on television. When the precarious household erupts in violence, Ruth is the only one who can piece their story togetherand she gets to the truth in a manner at once ferocious, hilarious, and heartbreaking.
In this powerful, incandescent novel, Jane Hamilton has worked a small miracle: she has given voice to a young woman who is indistinguishable except for her passion in her commitment to life. The Book of Ruth is a stunning testament to the human capacity for mercy, compassion, and love.
Winner of the 1989 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel.
What it begins with, I know finally, is the kernel of meanness in people's hearts. I don't know exactly how or why it gets inside us; that's one of the mysteries I haven't solved yet. I always tried to close my eyes and believe that angels, invisible in their gossamer dresses, were keeping their loving vigil. I learned, slowly, that if you don't look at the world with perfect vision, you're bound to get yourself cooked. Even though I may still be looking through the dark glass, even though I haven't finished learning the lessons, I'm the only one who tells the story from beginning to end. It can't be up to Ruby, because he has been spirited away and born again. Neither love nor prayer can bring him back. May can talk herself blue in the face and no one will hear. By rights this belongs to Justy, because he inherits the earth for a short time, but he doesn't quite count yet. He'll remember the taste of pecan balls, exactly how the ...
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