I live near Littleton and encountered Klebold and Harris at a mall shortly before the Columbine incident, because I was deeply disturbed by Klebold's Nazi attire. Watching the jumbled local live news I could see how distorted things were becoming. This book changed my mind, though, about the true reason for the killings, and shamed me for judging the parents of Harris and Klebold so harshly.
It also leaves me with a strong belief that no parent should leave kids in basements unsupervised and no high school child deserves total privacy.
JLB is not for the Twitter mentality with his descriptive prose and flawless dialogue. He transports you to the bayous and deep into the character's flaws and pulls you right in with them. Will Patton, the narrator, has become Dave Robicheaux and his voice haunts your inner eye's shadows.
This author specializes in psychopaths and the inner demons of the heroes without cheapening the books into trite thrillers. This book used a device JLB hasn't used for awhile, foreshadowing events that left me holding my breath until the last punctuation mark.
It's beyond me what all the hoopla is about this book. We're supposed to look back to the 70s with a misty eye and gain encouragement and insight to bring into our present lives with the content and manner of life in this book.
The author is obviously uneducated, anti-social, and self-righteous. She is estranged from her mother and siblings because her father refused to work. She blames her mother for the divorce because the mother wants to work and then preaches wage-slavery against the rest of society, or feels a need for health insurance or to live in any other location but a city. Her logic is impaired, her facts unchecked and she counsels her readers to lie to the taxman like she does, although she claims to live a biblical life. They spent $200/yr on food and half that on moonshine-making supplies and we're supposed to believe they have their priorities in order.
If you care to read this as one point of view of the back-to-land movement of the 70s do so, but it is no way representative of the movement. It is, however, a great insight against those who think the end of the world movement is a new idea.
Fully-fleshed characters, firm plot, tears at all the right places, gripping drama, two astounding narrators and a skillful author. Even the little bits of music added were perfect. I mourn the ending of this book but not the ending.
If this was the best the book editor could do with the manuscript it will have to do. It was frustrating to have to read "the girl" through the first 1/3 of the book as we were not supposed to know the name of the main character, and then have the same awkward stumbling at the end with the baby because the editor couldn't get the author to use more elegant means. But the book covers important historical French actions during WWII that are not usually spoken of. I had a hard time caring about the husband but I had to take the good with the bad.
The Publisher's summary reads like a romance novel when this is is classic James Lee Burke: Intellent story telling based on deep introspection and human nature. Dark poetry in hot, steamy Texas in the time when "Negro" was considered polite language and Hispanics were ignored. A preclude to Rain Gods, it explains many character mysteries and painful memories. Will Patton, the narrator, layers language with meaning and tonality like silk over callouses.
This tale is one of those that lives in you and leaves you wondering what continues to happens with the characters after the story ends. I've found myself wondering what happened with this or someone while I'm folding laundry and I've pounded the Internet for photos and history of the times. The writing creeps up on you with cats feet, causing you to surrender to the plot through the characters. I suspect this is a tale I'll pick up again and again for the sheer delight of it.
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