Sweeping Up Glass
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Sweeping Up Glass

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,190 ratings  ·  329 reviews
A first novel about mothers and daughters, racial prejudice and the devastating power of secrets in the 1930s American South.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 29th 2010 by Quercus (first published 2008)
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Annalisa
Apr 04, 2010 Annalisa rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Annalisa by: Leslie
This book had a lot of potential, but it fizzled early on. I found the setting and characters all very vivid and was pulled into Olivia's admiration of her father and hatred of her mother from the get go. But then Wall decided to take a sharp left turn into tragedy for no apparent reason and without any explanation. At that point, she lost me. Everything after that was out of character and out of time. I had hoped that Wall would justify all those unexplained years, but not only did she not answ...more
Sara
The blurbs used to describe Carolyn Wall’s debut, Sweeping Up Glass, compare Wall to Harper Lee, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor. I mean WOW, how does a novel live up to those kinds of expectations? And yet, even from the beginning, it just does. The striking similarities to To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most beloved books ever written, are unavoidable. The innocent narrator, and explored themes particularly evoke Mockingbird, and that is a statement I’d never make light...more
Billyf27
Wow! This book is filled with characters that I will never forget.
Wendy
I was not in the mood for Sweeping Up Glass when I began reading it. I had made a commitment though to read and review it. I am sure it sounded good to me when I checked the box at the BookBrowse website to be entered for a chance to review it, but once it arrived in the mail, I wondered what in the world I had been thinking. My extra-fabulous reading streak would surely be ruined now. Maybe that would be a good thing though, I told myself. People are beginning to think I not only like, but actu...more
M
Mar 29, 2009 M rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who liked To Kill a Mockingbird and God of Animals
Recommended to M by: Lisa McCormack and other sales reps
This book came out of nowhere. Previously published by a small press, it has been virtually unknown (though Oprah's O Magazine did bestow its accolades). It is the little book that could; a gem of a novel in the same vein as a favorite of mine, God of Animals by Aryn Kyle and fairly reminiscent of one of the grandmothers of modern Southern fiction whose classic child heroine I compare every child narrator to... Harper Lee's Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Olivia Harker Cross, Wing Harris, Love A...more
Cindy
This novel is probably the best book that i have read this year! I was a little leery about the topic of wolves however even though the wolves were significant they were not THE story but a part of the story. Olivia, the main character and narrator, is a strong and proud woman yet has a past that emotionally wears her down. Bigotry, love, hatred, madness and a mystery that needs to be solved are all included in this novel. All the characters have strong personalities and i became involved in eac...more
Denise
4.0 out of 5 stars True grit in the cold Kentucky mountains..., July 26, 2009

This review is from: Sweeping Up Glass (Paperback)

This novel was difficult to read. Not because it wasn't good - it was very good -- but because of the subject matter. I was hungry, I was cold, tired, lonely and filled with rage and frustration - I felt every feeling and thought every thought along with Olivia. I savored the prose and often stopped to reread passages - something I don't often do with the typical books...more
Kimberley
Jun 15, 2009 Kimberley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends
Recommended to Kimberley by: won it through a goodreads giveaway
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jody Lewis
For those of you who don't know, I picked up this book because my Mother's name is also Carolyn Wall! :)

I've had the book for months but only just finally got into enough to finish it. The opening was a little hard to follow so every other time I started it, I didn't have the patience to push through and figure out the scenes & characters. However, once I did the read was good. I found the characters interesting (even more so after reading the author's prologue, when she explained how &...more
LJ
SWEEPING UP GLASS (Novel/Mys-Olivia Harker-Kentucky-1930s) – Ex
Wall, Carolyn D. – 1st book
Poisoned Pen Press, 2008, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9781590585122

First Sentence: The long howl of a wolf rolls over me like a toothache.

Olivia Harker lives with her grandson in a run-down, cold-water building with a grocery out front, a small bedroom, kitchen and sleeping alcove in back and an outhouse. Her emotionally abusive mother lives an a shack separate from the house.
Someone is killing silver-faced wolve...more
Rhlibrary
Hi. My name is Marie, and I’m a “buzz book” addict.

It started with Cutting for Stone and now I hereby declare my love for Carolyn Wall’s Sweeping Up Glass. If you are at all a To Kill a Mockingbird fan, read this. If you found Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes charming, read this. If Bastard Out of Carolina is one of your favorites, read this. If you were as enamored as I was with God of Animals by newcomer Aryn Kyle, read this. If you’ve never read any of those books but have a hankering for...more
Julia
I really enjoyed this book - it was so absorbing - and a great storyline.It was both chilling and enchanting the way it ended.
Paul Pessolano
"Sweeping Up Glass" takes place in Pope County, Kentucky and tells the story of the people living in the town of Aurora. The time spans the life of Olivia Harker Cross from when she was a little girl until the later part of her life.

Olivia's father owns the General Store and tends to sick animals. He is also the source for the town's moonshine. Ida, Olivia's mother, has had a mental breakdown and has been placed in a state home.

Olivia's father hs come acroos a secret meeting and becomes privy to...more
Michele Abbott
I just can’t get enough of the generational Appalachian stories, so this was the book I read immediately after “Bloodroot.” And wow, what a book. Taking place in the rural mountains of Kentucky, this richly detailed book will allow you to feel every sensation: gnawing hunger pains, the howling wind against your face, the frigid soil beneath your feet, the sharp crack of bone under a bullet, and the utter desolation of hope in the face of survival. The backdrop is definitely depressing, painted w...more
Trudy
SPOILERS! Well, the first half of this book was so good. The writing was beautiful and character development was great. However, after that the story lost some of its'appeal for me. I found myself struggling to get past certain tragic events which did not seem to make sense to me. For example what happened to the relationship between Octavia and Wing. I understand his grief and her feelings of rejection, but this was just not a good flow for me. Also, the jump from Ida being young to old was jus...more
Gwen Mayo
I began reading this book because Carolyn Wall and I were going to be on a historical mystery panel together at Bouchercon 2011. Though I love American historical mystery, depression era ones are not my usual read. Wall surprised me with vivid characters trapped in a harsh situation in a troubled community.

Wow!

I was drawn in quickly and held tight to the end. I would not want to be Olivia, from childhood through her experience as a grandparent, life was harsh, impoverished, and filled with pai...more
Colleen
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I loved the Olivia's, the main character and narrator's, voice and felt invested in the other characters too. I felt that the main storyline, a broken family living in KY just after the turn of the 20th century and their past, was interesting and captivating. However, it felt like the story was slow moving at times and then would hurry and rush through the more significant scenes. It also felt at the end, as a huge mystery was unveiled, like there should hav...more
Lisse
I love this book! From the first page to the last, it was beautifully written, always interesting and completely filled with emotion. I loved all of the characters, except the ones that are meant to be despised.

I don't feel the need to tell what the book is about b/c the description above does a very good job of that. What I do feel the need to say is that this is an incredible book and I am so glad that I read it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes To Kill A Mockingbird or any story that...more
MaryJohanna
I received this book as a Goodreads Advance Reading Copy - and am so glad I did, as it's not one I would have picked up on my own.
The story is a hard one: a woman's bitter history with her mother and daughter; a grandmother scraping to make ends meet while raising her grandson and looking after her mother; the ominous presence of hunters recruited to wipe out a population of wolves and a long history of discrimination and hatred in a small, poor Kentucky county.

As reluctant as I was to start, on...more
Barner
I purchased this novel as I was walking through Terget the other day. What a wonderful find!!!!

This is Carolyn Wall's first novel and it is extraordinary. I actually found myself sobbing aloud as I reached the conclusion. Due to the novel's suspense, reaching the conclusion does not take long.

The characters are wonderful, the intrigue is handled so well, the author's complete control is amazing.

This is the complicated story of intersecting lives in a poor area of Kentucky. The plot touches on f...more
K
i received Sweeping Up Glass as an ARC from Book Browse First Impressions' program, and i do believe this was the first book in a long while that was a pleasure to read in order to review. i LOVED Sweeping Up Glass. i read over half of it the day i received it. it's reminiscient of To Kill A Mockingbird, but its story certainly stands alone. i loved the character of olivia...and there wasn't a false note throughout the entire book, nor was it predictable.

the book elicited such emotions from me.....more
Sandy
Oh, I did not want this book to end! I do have a general draw to books about the Appalachian Mountains people - it seems more than just that my birth roots are there. Sometimes I think it is the absolutely spare lives these people lead - no material "stuff" to hide emotion and living behind.

Even above that general draw, however, this book grabbed me and pulled me in. The first part was the drawing of the characters and the setting - Pap, Love Alice, Junk... They are so vivid. But then about mid...more
Trish Lindsey Jaggers
Not to spoil the review I'm writing for the Bowling Green Daily News (BG Kentucky), this is one terrific novel--whether a first novel or the twenty-first. Situated in small-town Kentucky, this novel butts racism, classism, and sexism head-on . . . with strong, reliable characters that a reader can readily embrace . . .

Wall's prose is well-done and sharp--biting almost--lending itself well to the region without the over-done Southern vernacular for which Steinbeck is famous.

Easily read in a day,...more
Marti
This was a remarkable story that dragged you into it almost from the beginning. It takes place in Pope County, Kentucky during the depression with all the tensions of poverty and racism during that time. For the main character, Olivia, life is not easy and she is trying to find answers. I found the story line was strong and the images even stronger. Carolyn Walls is a new author and her first book is poignant and haunting.

Once I started I had trouble putting the book down. I found myself firmly...more
Gary
This is a goodreads giveaway book.
Let me start by saying this was a surprisingly good read. Unless you are familiar with the southern dialect it may be a somewhat slow start. Once you get up to speed on the jargon it becomes a book that you can't wait to pick up. The story is very well crafted. I found that the more you read, the better this book gets. It has an ending I never would have predicted, and the last few chapters become a roller coaster of excitement. This is a pleasant little summer...more
Kate
worth reading for the insights to an area of our country and our society many of us don't know, didn't know, and won't from personal experience. The first two thirds of the book was hard to read and compelling at the same time. The final third was skimmable, moved quickly, and all the right things we want to have happen, happened. But it was a bit too neat, to wit, the 3 stars instead of four. I really, really liked Olivia and her grandson Will'm and her father who raised her through severe adve...more
Wendy
Very few books make me cry, but this was one of them. Wall's ability to touch so many different emotions that anyone who has ever loved, whatever the type of relationship, will understand. Not only does the plot keep one turning page after page, it makes one think about the bitter-sweetness of life's regrets and joys. In the end, maybe we are all just children, walking around in adult bodies, wanting to be loved, wanting for the world to be ok, wanting the strength to make it all ok.
Linda
Terrific story! I hadn't heard about this book until I saw it was chosen as the book for the One City One Book program in Thousand Oaks. I was hooked from page 1 and couldn't put it down. It was advertised as a bit Harper Lee and a bit William Faulkner, and I have to agree the writing reminds me of both; although, this is an entirely new,exciting voice as well. The main character Olivia was so real to me that I know I'm going to miss her something awful.
Pam
Mar 17, 2009 Pam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
What an incredible book! I loved the main character, a tough as nails woman who has to take care of everything in her life including a psychotic mother, a country store, a child, the wolves on her property, all while keeping her own feelings and emotions at bay. Set in the rural south and dealing with issues of race and segregation, this novel brings forth a whole range of emotions!
Darlene
Great book. While some reviewers criticized the novel because they did not like the protagonist, I think she was a finely developed and appropriate character. The walls she erected around herself were there for survival.
The dialog is believable, the plot suspenseful and fast-moving and the story heartening.
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Carolyn Wall is the author of the novel Sweeping Up Glass (Poisoned Pen Press; available in bookstores August, 2008). Her short stories, articles and photographs have appeared in over 100 publications. For many years she worked as Senior Staff Writer for Persimmon Hill, the award-winning publication of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and was chief writer for the museum’s children’...more
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