Sister Mine, O'Dell's third
Back Roads and Coal Run, is a
raucous, action-driven read with a cast of
robust characters including hard-talking Shae-Lynn,
a Russian gangster, a sleazy New York lawyer, a
dastardly mine owner and a wayward sister. In fact,
it's such a fun read that it's easy to overlook that
at its heart are powerful issues that explore the
price we put on human life in various contexts and
from several perspectives.
Like O'Dell's earlier two books, the setting is a small town in Pennsylvania that was founded and grew on coal, but now, with the mines closing, has lost its purpose and is losing its cohesion. Twenty-four years ago, Shae-Lynn left the area with her baby son, Clay, to escape her abusive ...
In an old bio Tawni O'Dell says, "All my life I have struggled with .... being an educated woman saddled with a biker chick's name. A theme that often appears in my work is one of characters' struggling to define themselves among people who already defined them wrongly because of a stereotype, or their own inability to look past a person's surface and see inside them. I've frequently had to deal with the danger of being mislabeled." With this in mind, and O'Dell's choice of Shae Lynn as her lead character, you may find this article titled Names and Personality of interest.
In an essay about Sister Mine, O'Dell explains that the central theme of the book is "about human capital: how we buy and sell ...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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