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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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There are currently 21 member reviews
for Ruthie Fear
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  • Elizabeth L. (Hagerstown, MD)
    Fantasy, symbolism, and reality
    The author brought the places to life with his descriptions of Big Sky Country. Ruthie shared her innermost thoughts and fears with the reader.

    I lived in southeastern Idaho from 1951 to 1963 a few hours away from the Bitterroot Mountains. Reading about places I had visited many times after leaving the area was a trip down memory lane. The characters in the book were the "locals" my family the AEC newcomers. The problems faced by the locals were similar, ie, outsiders with more education moving in, minorities discriminated against, poverty, alcoholism, and young people struggling with parenthood. Always a them vs us struggle.

    When I finished it was the same feeling I get after watching an excellent foreign movie, what did I miss?
  • Ruth H. (Sebring, FL)
    Ruthie's Montana
    A different type of read for me, with unusual Characters and grand scenery of Montana. Ruthie was raised by an alcoholic Father who knew nothing about raising a girl with all the biological and feminine attributes of being a female! However, he knew how to hunt, trap and live in the rugged outdoors and that was what he taught Ruthie. Teaching her this helped her to survive in a different sort of way. As an outdoor kind of gal, Ruthie sees something weird roaming in the woods. A secret she keeps for many years, one day the reveal... a moment that makes her and her Father come together ! So, does this change Ruthie's mind about men? Would she leave Montana? Maybe find her Mother? What's going on inside Rockie Mountain Labs? Will she ever find Jon Sitka? So many questions left behind. Guess the author will need to write a sequel!
  • Sandi W
    Very unusual...
    2.5 stars Thank you to BookBrowse and W.W. Norton Company for allowing me to read this book. Expected publication: September 1st 2020

    For me this book was very unusual. There were some beautiful descriptions of the Montana landscape and mountain ranges throughout the story, but the plot line was an all together different manner. The story revolved around death - both animal and human.

    Ruthie Fear was the main character - from her youth, with only a father to raise her in a poor hollow of undeveloped land to her adulthood in the same poor scratch for a living substance, just outside a Native American reservation.

    Native American themes, fantasy monsters, pain and sorrow, and death propels this story along. In many parts I felt the story was very disjointed and really made no sense with the only thing to fall back on was Ruthie's age and where her situation was at the time.

    Very unusual that a male author would decide to write a book through the eyes of an adolescent girl. Possibly that is where I read the lack of common elements and felt the story was disjointed.
  • Daniel H. (Palos Heights, IL)
    A puzzlement
    I have read books that make me laugh, make me cry, bore me, amaze me with its prose, give me insight into another's world. This is the first book which made me angry! I was sad about the depiction of the protagonist's Montana world, and her difficulty finding her place in it. The reader is not lead to expect a fairy tale ending. That said, I found the conclusion jarring, and only barely traceable to antecedents in the tale, not a denouement, but an altered trajectory. I did not like the story.
  • Janine S. (Wyoming, MI)
    Interesting but strange
    This was an interesting but strange book. It never resonated with me though I give high marks to the author's writing. Ruthie Fear is a most unique character. Raised in a beautiful wilderness faced with creeping civilization and environmental changes by a father who gives limited credence to kindness or feminine development, Ruthie is shaped by nature and animals instinct as well as the male world she predominantly inhabits. While the book has a surprise ending, the story is not a very happy one.
  • Reid B.
    Beauty marred by the grotesque
    Advance reader copy. I appreciate the opportunity to review this book in advance of publication.

    For three quarters of this book (except for one quibble I will mention below), I was enthralled by this novel, deeply moved by the characters who people it, in admiration of the author's ability to portray the reality of the lives in which they find themselves, and in awe of the quality of the writing.

    Ruthie Fear is a girl who becomes a woman in the course of the novel, raised by her father in a teal trailer in the middle-of-nowhere Montana that is slowly transforming into a bedroom community for larger cities, as such cities are encroaching on the wild places around them all over the country. Their community is a poor one, and the wealthy who come to settle there (if only into their vacation homes for a few months a year) are deeply resented and despised. For the most part, Ruthie is no exception to the general run of those who have lived here their whole lives: stubborn, restless, angry, sad, struggling people who both love the land they live in and feel trapped by that love. At one point Ruthie tries to get away, but she has no tools for living anywhere but this little backwater town.

    Violence and guns are a way of life to Ruthie, who grows up knowing how to shoot, with a father who loves to own guns and give them to his daughter as gifts, so that when she reaches adulthood she has no fewer than seven guns to her name. There are other forms of violence, too, of a more pedestrian kind; fistfights and threats, emotional manipulation and near-rape. For all this, Ruthie lives a fairly normal life, graduating high school, working in the local diner, trying to make a life for herself. Men enter and leave her life, and their presence or absence is the driving force behind much of what transpires in the book.

    So far, so good. All of this is movingly told, with a poetic sense for the use of language and a fine ear for dialogue. (The one exception is the use of sentence fragments; though I understand the power of this technique, pulling the reader up short, forcing us to pay attention, Loskutoff resorts to fragments far too often for this to be effective. They begin to feel merely sloppy, displaying a lack of care, the casual use of a period where a comma or semicolon would have sufficed and not interrupted the flow).

    But in the final quarter of the book, the allegory which has been lurking takes over the story, becoming the entirety of it. One could speculate on what is meant by what transpires, and I suppose to the author it had some great message to convey, but to me it seems mostly a way to shock our sensibilities, scold us for expecting a conventional ending to a lovely, sad story. I am sure our destructiveness as a species played a part in this calculated plot turn, and it's worth acknowledging our perfidy. But this ending strikes me as just grotesque, a writerly trick, which reads as a message that he can do whatever he wishes with his book. Well, we as readers can't but grant him this power. But to my way of thinking, what he has done is mar a dark and beautiful creation with something unnecessary and ugly.
  • Susan S. (Springdale, AR)
    Ruthie Fear
    Disjointed is the word that comes to mind when I think of this book. I had trouble deciding how the characters "fit" in relation to the Native American culture. So many sub plots were alluded to but never developed. The reader is left to "fill in the gaps" in many instances. I could never understand the whole idea of the creatures - were they real? Imagined? A cultural phenomenon? Nothing seemed to fit together and the ending seemed very rushed and sort of "tacked on". I did appreciate the vivid descriptions of the land and isolated intricate details of events in Ruthie's life. I just wished there was more cohesion throughout the book.
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