Saturday, May 12, 2007

Back Roads, by Tawni O'Dell

It took me a while to get through this one, but only because of the format; I have only one spot in the house to listen to the selections I receive on cassette. My old boombox (purchased after my divorce in '92, since my husband wouldn't give up "his" stereo system) lives on my coffee/end table, and it just isn't conducive to curling up with a good listen. The next time I make a run to town, I'm hoping to find something a little newer (but are they made with cassette-playing capability anymore?) so that my son can have my old one--he loves music, and he could use a source aside from his "mobile" player.

Nice tangent, huh?

O'Dell is a good storyteller, but the story itself packs a heckuva wallop; it isn't for the ultra-sensitive. The people in the protagonist's immediate circle who have questionable morality issues will probably be challenging to the straight-laced reader. I haven't researched the author's background, so I can say only that her research into the dynamic of a family torn apart by abuse so awful that it warrants intervention by the authorities was well done.

This book touched a nerve with me; the scenes at the prison, the reason Harley's mother was in jail, and all the fallout directly related to the fact of a missing parent brought up a part of my past for which I'll get no resolution. I've even recently made an attempt to find out who was behind all the drama of my 8th year, but my dad stonewalled me, and made it all about himself. Anyway, I think that Harley's truth-seeking was quite true to life; a sane response to an insane situation.

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