Bennett LaFond's Reviews > The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
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Nov 20, 12


Definitely a genre piece. I guess I was expecting more from it. As a crime novel it was great. As a piece of fiction it was mediocre. The majority of the characters lacked real depth. We got just enough to know that they were evil, twisted, messed up, but it seemed like the general explanation for this was, 'they live in a hick town in Ohio.' I realize the author came from a blue-collar background himself, and maybe there's an element of truth to it, but he failed to make me believe it. The scene where the mad hillbilly preacher wiped the sweat off his face with a dirty diaper crossed a line that the book couldn't cross back, it showed a certain kind of disrespect or lack of understanding for the character, treating him just as a nut job and not a human. The one character I really felt for, Arvin, wasn't around consistently enough to make me emotionally involved.

All that said, I enjoyed The Devil All the Time. It kept me entertained. It was dark. Some of the prose was extremely well crafted. It gave me a couple nightmares one night I read it for an especially long time. I just want to be blown away when I finish a novel, and it didn't get there.
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