I had heard raves about this book and was disappointed; I give it only three stars. It may be a realistic portrayal of hard lives full of loss, alcoholism, profanity, infidelity, isolation, irreverence and survival, but maybe I need a book to not leave one there, and be a bit more elevating.
However, I don’t review most of the three star books I read. This novel had what I thought was a remarkable chapter called “The Hold-up” which was memorably wonderful. Idella, the main character, is working in a small convenience store, where she is held-up at gunpoint. How she turns this situation completely around with respectful and gutsy compassion is truly something to behold. The book is written in rather self-contained short stories of about a cast of characters within the author’s own family, so this chapter could be read on its own without losing much from skipping the rest of the book.