This is a strong first novel by Margo Catts. This novel has several themes: of self-discovery, of place and home, of making decisions and accepting thThis is a strong first novel by Margo Catts. This novel has several themes: of self-discovery, of place and home, of making decisions and accepting the consequences. And there are other threads that can be pulled out of this story, it’s a book that can make you consider your own life, the past and decisions made.
One of the things I love about this novel is it’s told only in one voice, in the view point of Elena Alvarez. Seems like fewer novels are told like this anymore.
Elena has just graduated college in Los Angeles and isn’t sure what to do next, except she knows she wants to be alone. Her grandmother tells her she’s needed in the small mining town in Colorado, at least for the summer. Elena takes on caring for two children who recently lost their mother in an accident. Their father is a long-haul driver, away from home more days than not and until he finds local work the community has been taking turns caring for the children. Elena’s help is much needed, even though Elena isn’t’ sure she is up for the job, but figures the time there will help her decide what to do next.
While learning to care for these lost kids Elena learns about herself and her family. The story evolves as you learn more about the people around Elena, and in the end the story is deeply moving. It’s insightful. I will definitely be watching for any future work by Margo Catts.
Thank you to the publisher Arcade Publishing/Skyhorse Publishing for allowing me an advance copy to read....more
This book will literary make you laugh and cry, or at least it did to me. The tale is told from the viewpoint of a young girl, Willow growing up withThis book will literary make you laugh and cry, or at least it did to me. The tale is told from the viewpoint of a young girl, Willow growing up with her elderly single mom, Polly. A near miracle happened when Polly got pregnant in her late fifties, unfortunately just finding out after her husband died. Willow has two older siblings, Lisa and Shel that appear in the story as well. Polly is quite the character, with a lot of spunk and curious sayings, and fully believes in feuds, particularly with neighbors.
Willow fears that her mom will die since she is so much older than other moms. Willow also tries to find out about her mom's secretive past, which lends a little bit of a mystery to the novel. Polly refuses to return to her small hometown in Louisiana and Willow must know. This doesn't take center stage to the novel, but a part. The main tale is the heart-warming story of this unique mother and daughter.
Thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read an advance copy prior to publication....more
This is very short book developed out of Paul Madonna's personal experience of being evicted out of his home in San Francisco. Yes, a renter, but at tThis is very short book developed out of Paul Madonna's personal experience of being evicted out of his home in San Francisco. Yes, a renter, but at the same place for about ten years. Seemed unfair, especially since the landlord was likely breaking tenant rights law.
The surreal experiences talked about in the book reflects what Paul felt going through this process. His drawings were good, but sometimes didn't seem to me to match what was going on in the story.
As I said, a very short work, and most the time while reading this I felt like the book was written for just people of San Francisco. I felt like such an outsider. Sometimes the specific reflects to the larger, but in this case I didn't get that sense at all. I'm no stranger to San Francisco, although I do not now, nor in the past, lived in the city. I have been a frequent visitor for the past, (wow) thirty years now (i'm getting old!). My frequent visits have caused me to know the place better than Los Angeles, which is near where I live now and spent most of my life. So why do I feel like such an outsider with this book?
PS: Final thought, little funny to me as it opens with "Imagine you're on an airplane...." well that was easy for me, because I was on one while I read this book. :)...more