Julie's Reviews > Bloodroot

Bloodroot by Amy Greene
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Apr 21, 10

bookshelves: contemporary-fiction, usa-contemporary, read-2010
Read in April, 2010

3 1/2 stars. Amy Greene writes beautifully. I feel the passion in her efforts when her words caress the hollows, streams, woods, meadows and heights of her beloved Appalachia. Many of her characters, particularly Byrdie, Doug, Johnny and Caroline, are fully rendered, with warm blood coursing through their veins.

I was drawn into the characters' stories by their earnest and honest voices and was disappointed when one by one they slipped from the stage or were left with bit parts. The constantly changing points of view were frustrating to me- it was tiresome to be shifted around so frequently in the first half of the novel. By the time things settled down, the threads of the story started to unravel. I couldn't understand why so many of these characters were dreadfully cruel and self-destructive other than some mystical curse of "haint" blue eyes or being born poor, in the depths of Appalachia. The latter could be reason enough, but it's a set of motivations that borders on condescending cliche.

Greene's story brought to mind another recent debut novel I read last year: Sweeping Up Glass, by Carolyn Wall, which is set in Kentucky during the Depression. There were similarities in setting and culture, in the importance of family and community, in the betrayal and cruelty that lurks beyond the homestead, but Wall told a far less ambitious and far more complete story.

Greene is a tremendous storyteller and I hope she continues to use her gifts to craft stories of her home that are honest, original, and unpredictable and don't always rely on the maudlin and violent to show passion and tragedy.
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Reading Progress

04/06/2010 page 100
34.36% "I'm not keen on the constantly changing POVs but I'm hooked on the story." 1 comment

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