Rachel's Reviews > The Well and the Mine

The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips
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's review
Apr 09, 12

bookshelves: fiction, alabama
Read in April, 2012

I loved this book.

I loved the tenderness between the characters themselves and the tenderness with which the author wrote about them.

I loved the five distinct voices of the members of the Moore family, whose alternating narrations unwind the story frontwards, backwards, and inwards.

I loved the "wisp of suspense," as one reviewer put it; but I also loved that the mystery was embedded in the character development, not the other way around.

I loved the reality of it. Even the best of folks trying to make the best of decisions sometimes just get it all wrong.

I loved that Phillips didn't need eccentric quirks or minor evil streaks to bring her characters to life. She just wrote about ordinary people trying to do right by each other.

For a first time novelist to tackle poverty, racism, prejudice, and family life in 1930s Alabama is ballsy, not least because the inimitable Harper Lee already did it with spectacular near-perfection. But Gin Phillips understands that in mining and in writing and in getting to know ourselves and others, nothing is ever finished.

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