Read advance reader review of Ruthie Fear by Maxim Loskutoff

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Ruthie Fear

A Novel

by Maxim Loskutoff

Ruthie Fear by Maxim Loskutoff X
Ruthie Fear by Maxim Loskutoff
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2020
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

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  • Diane T. (Slingerlands, NY)
    What????? WOW!!!!!
    Ruthie Fear by Maxim Loskutoff is both poignant and gritty.
    The reader watches Ruthie grow up in a male dominated community after her mother abandons her and her father, who is also "growing up". Her beloved mountains and the purity of the untouched nature around her begins to be targeted by the elite who "want to get away from it all". Perhaps "Fear" leads her to explore outside of her hometown but it is the constant of the land that draws Ruthie back. Grit is the "wild west" feel (and physical placement) of the story - the actual home area of the author - which also draws Ruthie back. The characters, good and bad, that are woven into Ruthie's story are gritty in their obsession about "their land" which fortifies Ruthie's resolve. This is what gives Ruthie "true grit".
    The writing is lyrical which enhances descriptions of Ruthie's physical world. The unexpected climax and conclusion .made me take multiple deep breaths upon finishing and said "Wow" out loud. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Both Ruthie and this book are forces of nature.
  • Ian M. (McFarland, WI)
    Coming of Age in Rural America: It's Complicated and Beautiful
    Ruthie Fear is a beautiful coming of age story. Loskutoff's descriptive style is vivid, immersing the reader into the bleakness of growing up poor in a beautiful part of Montana. The banality and tension of being raised an only child of a destitute, single, yet loving, father is visceral. The characters are deep and multidimensional; their conflicted emotions twisting the reader in knots -- from empathy to anger. If you ever wanted to read a mashup of "Catcher in the Rye" and "No Country for Old Men," this is it -- with a female heroine. Guns, taxidermy, high school football, good ol' boys, class conflict, sweeping landscapes... This one will stick with you for a long while.
  • Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)
    A sometimes painful pageturner
    I'm so glad to have met Ruthie Fear and accompanied her from childhood through a "coming-of-age" narrative marked by a strong tie to the world of nature and bruising experiences with the people she encounters. Ruthie has a mind of her own, a persistent drive to be herself in spite of the expectations of her society. And that society is so far from my own that it is both painful and thrilling. The writing is beautiful. Characters are diverse, wildly so. There are moments when I was reluctant to turn the page but at the same time anxious to find out what comes next. Trigger alert for those who are disturbed by, shall we say, unkind treatment of animals - this may not be the read for you.
  • Gary R. (Bolingbrook, IL)
    An ode to the Bitterroot Valley
    I don't now where to start! Such a good read, the story of Ruthie Fear and also the Bitterroot Valley of Montana! We get to watch the life of Ruthie Fear and her father Rutherford as they live their lives in the shadow of the Montana mountains. A tough life for sure but somehow rewarding and simple. The ending was, in a way, fitting! But what happened? You'll just have to read it, well worth the time
  • Monica P. (Cleves, OH)
    I'm Blown Away
    I just finished this book a few minutes ago and I sit here stunned and emotional. So emotional I'm not sure what to say. This story was way out of my usual genre, but oh my!

    Every sentence was beautifully and poetically written and sometimes that was the only thing that kept me reading. The unique and gritty storyline was not always comfortable to me, but I'm glad I stepped out of my box. This was not written as fluff and I imagine the author agonized over these pages.

    Would I recommend this one? You bet I would, but be prepared because it's no beach read and I mean that in a good way.
  • Beverly J. (Hoover, AL)
    Smart, Original and Completely Absorbing
    A richly observed tale spiked with survival and violence, rough justice, and love.

    The reader meets Ruthie Fear when she is six years old and follow her up until her early thirties as she battles her inner demons on what type of life does she want to live as her home in the Bitter Root Valley, Montana is battling its own demons of progress versus preserving the present.

    The plotting is intricate, the characters are well drawn and the pace never lets up as there are natural and man-made disasters to provide the tensions between people as they attempt to survive and thrive.

    This tale of the American West is complexly layered and provides no easy answers as I pondered what would I do in the various situations.

    But, if for no other reason, read this book for the spectacular landscape writing.
  • Molly B. (Longmont, CO)
    Excellent but for the ending
    Ruthie Fear was a compelling story, written in a style I really like - short sentences, harsh truths, often achingly beautiful. Maxim Luskutoff has quite an imagination, writing from the point of view of a girl who lives in poverty almost off the grid, whose mother left when she was very young, raised by a father who does his best. It was a fascinating story, and I really enjoyed the depiction of life in rural Montana, the progression of Ruthie's life with its truth, lack of apology, and poignant, sensitive aspects - all the way til the very end. The end followed up on a strange occurrence from the beginning of the story, but it was too sudden and fantastical and weird for me. I wish the author had maintained the same tone as the rest of the book and continued the story of Ruthie's life. But I really enjoyed the way he writes, and I will read his collection of stories next, to see if they are similar - having great empathy for and understanding of the characters, regardless of their difference in gender or age from his own, and describing nuances of life in interesting depth.
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