Thursday, January 30, 2020

Dissecting a Bestseller

A friend at Tuesday's French class had remarked favorably the previous week about a book she was reading and enjoying immensely.

"Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens   $26   370 pages

She brought in last Tuesday and I'm now on page 157 of what could be; in fact, should be a good read.  It isn't particularly.  Poor folks have been depicted in much more interesting detail than this one.  Am not a gourmet by any means but constant references to grits, cooking of which, availability and cost pall and I'm only 157 pages in, above.

Owens is well-equipped to cover the "nature" stuff in the book.  She has a BS in Zoology and a PhD in Animal Behaviors.  The book is set in North Carolina in or on a swamp which figures in much of the plot.  Forests, too.  The heroine is very frequently - too much so for my tastes - running away into said forest to hide from predatory people.  This is her first novel.

In comparison, a much better book with a similar theme of poverty, unlikely and unlovable characters is "Last Train Home - A story of an Arkansas Farm Girl" by Wanda Maureen Miller.  The heroine here is trying to escape a mean father and a scared mother - to get out in the world and make a better life for  herself.  From an outdoor toilet to a house with five bathrooms, she succeeds admirably and with great humor.  And shots of extreme cruelty that will keep you awake wondering when her evil father will get his.  A much better book if you are looking to be entertained.

Miller should receive as much or more fame and fortune than Owens.  Quite possibly more.

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