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3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  78 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Roe is like any other fifteen-year-old Chicago teenager. Her only worries are schoolwork, keeping up with her best friend and whether she should sleep with her boyfriend. Then her adoptive father disappears one winter's day. As she tries to find out why he left her, her past unravels in front of her.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 23rd 2012 by Freight Books
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Books Set in Chicago
117th out of 389 books — 275 voters
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Best Bildungsroman book
128th out of 260 books — 218 voters

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Community Reviews

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Moira McPartlin
Nov 07, 2012 Moira McPartlin rated it it was amazing
EKR was my creative writing tutor once upon a time and this is her long over due debut. And as I expected it is a work of art. The novel is small, just over 160 pages but like a rich chocolate cake I ate it with a teaspoon and licked the spoon after each delicious sentence. This is the tale of a teenager girl, Roe, who has lost her dad and in the space of her week of searching she discovers herself and her history. I loved this novel and my past teacher is inspiring me all over again.
Vicki Jarrett
Sep 05, 2012 Vicki Jarrett rated it it was amazing
Ramshackle is written in the voice of Roe, a fifteen-year-old girl who wakes up to find that her father has left her, alone, abandoned, with no warning or explanation. We stay with Roe as she wrestles with her emotions and memories, the clues and contradictions they contain. Her father is a locksmith and the whole book felt to me like a cleverly constructed lock, the story revealing itself through Roe's mind with a series of expertly executed clicks and shifts. Reeder's prose is understated and ...more
Sep 13, 2012 Jean rated it it was amazing
There are books you admire or which you know are good without particularly liking them, but I just loved this one.
The young girl and her cool aunt, the best friend, and the missing father are all really strong characters, powerfully drawn
The sustained tension of waiting to hear what's happened to the father is combined with such a strong sense of the people and the place meant I just didn't want it to end.
Vickie Wilson
Mar 07, 2014 Vickie Wilson rated it really liked it
Ramshackle is interesting contemporary book, certainly not filled with cotton candy and rainbows and it really makes you think too. Mostly about sex. More on that later. The characters in this were all really interesting and when it came to the secondary characters, I wanted to walk home with them and find out their life story too. I particularly liked the coffee guy that I can't research the name of because my iPod has eaten it's battery power.

Roe is kinda weird though. In most ways she's a typ
Feb 24, 2016 Sarah rated it it was ok
I'm not really sure what to say about this...I very nearly gave up at 25%, as my general rule of thumb is that if a book hasn't grabbed me by a quarter of the way through then it's not for me. I persevered, making a conscious effort to sit down and find the time to read on. I finished it the following day, but am still wondering just what I actually read!

Whilst some might find the prose lyrical, and cathartic, I found it mildly irritating and confusing. The constant use of the present tense, re
Aug 08, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-on-kindle
This is a very assured first novel from Elizabeth Reeder and I can understand why it was critically acclaimed. the novel is written in the voice of the main character a fifteen year old girl called Roe whose father has mysteriously disappeared. The book deals with a lot of different themes - loss, trust, honesty, coming of age and more - but does not feel in any way worthy. This a is a tight and believable tale and will keep you guessing, but I found I cared about the characters and was willing ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-read
In a small town on the shores of the Great Lakes, 15-year-old Roe lives with her locksmith father. One winter morning, Roe awakes to find her father missing. So begins a voyage of discovery for young Roe - who she is, where she came from, and also learning lots about her father (how he used to disappear for weeks at a time when she was a baby), her mother who abandoned her and her father's siblings, Linden and Duncan. The story is all about how Roe copes with her father's disappearance, both at ...more
I thought this book was wonderfully planned out. The way the main characters toughts changed frequently throughout the book was genius. It could have used a little more information towards the start of the book, but then again the plot was reaveled during the middle-end; therefore leaving me hooked for hours at a time. I often wonder about the what happens to the minor roles/charactes in this book. That is a great thing though because it is open to interpritation.
May 25, 2012 Lillerina rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Reeder's prose is clumsy and awkward at times, inconsistent enough that it didn't feel like an intentional style decision, and yet there was something compelling and beautiful about this book. The elements of it were nothing special - teenage girl, irresponsible aunt, asshole boyfriend, missing father, the setting, the plot - but somehow they fell together to make a beautiful book. This book is greater than the sum of its parts.
Julie Fergusson
Sep 02, 2012 Julie Fergusson rated it it was amazing
Reeder confidently deals with complex themes of loss and abandonment. Protagonist Roe is a typical teenager (though probably quite mature for her age)whose life is thrown into turmoil by the disappearance of her father. Unmaternal Aunt Linden steps in to help Roe, who is now uncovering a series of family secrets that cause her to question the relationship with her father that she always considered solid and immovable.

I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon devouring this in a one-er.
Sidonie Ferguson
Sep 28, 2012 Sidonie Ferguson rated it it was ok
A little bit odd, a little bit interesting, not totally sure what to make of it to be honest. Quite hard to follow/get into sometimes and then others it just flows.
Apr 10, 2015 M. rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It was brilliant looking thing and the writing drove home the voice of the main character, Roe. It was easy to get immersed inside Reeder's talented writing.
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I'm a writer. I write fiction (long, short, for radio) and crossover pieces as well (e.g. lyrical and narrative essays). My first novel, Ramshackle was published in April 2012 by Freight Books. My next novel, Fremont, was published in October 2012 by Kohl Publishing. I've chosen these new independent presses (both based in Scotland) because they're run by talented, smart, ambitious individuals. ...more
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