Spiros's Reviews > Tomato Red

Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell
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's review
Sep 15, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: bins, staffpicks, chasingmytail
Recommended for: fans of great writing
Read in September, 2007 , read count: a few (what's it to you?)

Sammy Barlach is a drifter with the words "Fuck Up" writ large upon him. He is basically a stray dog, blessed with amazing turns of phrase, cursed with an abnormal degree of self awareness. His fatal flaw: a need to find "those that will have" him, to be part of something bigger than himself; in essence, to find a family. And in finding the Merridews, boy, does he ever find one.
This novel might be the most succinct explanation of why those at the bottom of the ladder can't climb their way higher up: they're all too busy whaling on each other.

I just reread this (October 2010) after putting it on the Staff Favorites display, mainly because it is just about the only Woodrell that's still (again) in print. Not only does it hold up well to a second reading: I changed my rating from 4 to 5 stars.

My favorite Sammy quote, amongst many:
"I think I thought this ladder invention meant I was thinkin' straight".

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