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The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family's maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being simple Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account, wealth they've declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grand children.

"Because we want them to thrive," Marla always says.

What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby's drive-thru window. Like a first class ticket to Jamaica between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a doublewide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest.

As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings precious white suburban respectability begins to spread, the far flung grand children gradually find their ways back to each other, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.

394 pages, Hardcover

First published March 26, 2019

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About the author

A.S. King

24 books3,568 followers
A.S. King is the author of the highly-acclaimed I CRAWL THROUGH IT, Walden Award winner GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE, REALITY BOY, 2013 LA Times Book Prize winner ASK THE PASSENGERS, 2012 ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS, and 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ and THE DUST OF 100 DOGS as well as a collection of award-winning short stories for adults, MONICA NEVER SHUTS UP.

Look for Amy's work in anthologies DEAR BULLY, BREAK THESE RULES, ONE DEATH NINE STORIES, and LOSING IT. Two more YA novels to come in 2016 & 2018. Find more at www.as-king.com.

p.s.- If I don't accept your friend request, don't feel sad. It's because I don't really use Goodreads even though I'm completely thrilled that you do!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,905 reviews
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews150k followers
February 18, 2021
Dig is a razor in print form—with just a faintly sheathed seething undercurrent of anger. Reading this book, a whirl of thoughts and feelings assailed me eightfold and I almost recoiled. Days later, there is a twisting feeling in my chest still, like cloth being wrung dry. This is the kind of novel that drives words out, that doesn’t really fit into easy boxes, that makes those who recommend it falter, before finally saying, "Just trust me."

Just trust me.

“This book is supposed to be uncomfortable. I’d apologize, but I’m not sorry.”

The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, First-Class Malcolm. For these five teenagers, “family” was a word they said with gritted teeth and spittle flying, all their scorn bound up in it. There’s a thread running through their lives, marrying one to the next. It’s the breakage in the lines of their family’s history; a breakage that begun with Gottfried and Marla Hemmings.

Greed and something else—something worse—wound its creepers about the hearts of Marla and Gottfried and squeezed the warmth from it. Marla, encased in her armor of vaunted virtue, and Gottfried, trained around her cruelty, severed ties with their children, and soon after, their children begun to drift apart, stooped with the burdens of life while their parents reveled in soft living. The old couple, in their scathing indifference, had let themselves go on with this simplicity of conviction: “We want them to thrive.” But the wretched thing—and the thing they never dared talk about—is that whatever darkness prowled inside them moved into their kids, and their kids’ kids, like roots driving deep into soil, clogging and staining them, choking them like rot. But soon, reality wouldn’t let Marla and Gottfried settle on their well-worn excuses, becoming like a stone in their shoes, impossible to ignore.

Here are their grandchildren: The Shoveler meandering through the city with a shovel, drifting more than walking, dulled and faded and fatherless, and still no nearer an answer. The Freak whose world has gone white and everything dropped away, leaving her suspended, screaming, in a terrible void. CanIHelpYou? selling pot at the Arby's drive-thru window because hate had eroded the parent she once loved, and who can’t figure out when the one person whose presence hung like a lamp in the darkness of her life went “from being [her] best friend to the worst best friend [her] mother could imagine”. First-Class Malcolm who is suffering a cloying, needy loneliness, and whose father’s gaunt face is not letting hope take root. Loretta who is hovering at the edge of madness, her only solace an imagination that fashioned the scraps of her life into a circus, a desperate lunge at the hope of melting the knife reality had buried in her side.

Five teenagers walking through untouched brambles, always digging, searching out every stone and grinding leave in the hope that one of them might yield the answers they're looking for.

“Thing is,” he says, “we can run around the planet a hundred times and we’re still who we are.”

Dig is a story so strange, so outlandish and so maddening, that it felt like a fever breaking; yet, I drank it all down, with a kind of stunned curiosity, though at first I could hardly understand half of what it meant.

The experience of reading Dig is sometimes necessarily jarring: the story King tells is puzzling, drunken and garbled, out of kilter with what a tale ought to be. The frequent and liquid shifts in point-of-view give the whole a scattered and surreal look, but there’s a chiming clarity to King’s prose that held me like a swift-running current. My anticipation made a low thrum—the feeling like a scream building in my mind, and my amazement soon mingled with dread when the story—which previously felt distant and blurry—came into sharp focus, pouring forth a deluge of answers through a series of fragmented flashbacks about the characters and dumbfounding revelations about their pasts.

There are so many grace notes to appreciate about this novel, but a huge part of what is so wonderful about Dig is the clear and unabashed vituperation with which the author confronts issues like racism, white supremacy, abuse, and family dysfunction, and the piercing boldness with which she also writes of mental health, sex, and sexuality, and the deftness with which she then weaves it all seamlessly into the plot and setting.

Dig plunges its reader into the violence of the world we live in, and I was struck by the bitter, irrevocable reality of it all: a white family owning a souvenir slave bell, a neighbor with “100% White Power” tattooed on his arm (which, King later divulges, is based on a real person), a father abusing his wife, a girl missing, the cruelty of a parent who doesn’t care. This is the kind of YA book I wish I read as a teen: King seems to know exactly what teenagers are capable of and what they’re able to bear, and she doesn't treat her teen readers as if they exist in some pristine, unspoiled state until they pick up a bold, unvarnished novel that makes them uncomfortable, squirming uneasily in their seats with the awfulness of everything.

I mean, white isn’t just a color. And maybe that’s the problem for them. White is a passport. It’s a ticket. The world is a white amusement park and your white skin buys you into it. A woman in economy argued with me about this once. She said, “I’ve heard this idea and it makes me uncomfortable.” 
“It probably should,” I said.

As mentioned before, the plot is split between five teenagers, and then again among other narrators. The five cousins have their own coming-of-age stories that intertwine eventually. In fact, their stories proceed independently for most of the book before they ever actually meet.

Dig features deeply nuanced and reflective characters. At the core of each of them, something red and primal snarls at the sheer rottenness of the world, wanting it overturned like a bowl of eggs, smashed at their feet. They want nothing but to fly away from the dead-end corridor where their lives had trapped and taunted them. To fly away from the prejudices that led to generations of hate, and from themselves, before they realize that family was only a shape they had been poured into—they did not have to keep it.

This is not to say that Dig is steeped in grimness. It is true that, by the end of the book, I had in no way softened in my attitude toward Marla and Gottfried. Their horrifying excuses only left room in me for utter disdain and hostility. Dig is, nonetheless, shot through with hope and unexpected shafts of livid sunlight. The present collides with the past, as the five teenagers attempt to find harmony between the two—a task that once seemed insurmountable for all of them. And at last, they’ll watch hate—a relic of the past—fed to the flames, so the gnarled, shredded roots of their family can grow again, nourished by love and acceptance.

“The best part of all of you is underground if you keep thinking those people define you. Our grandparents were rotten seed. Kept secrets. Worshipped money. Pitted their kids against one another. But we aren’t them. We can break free.” 

If you liked this review please consider leaving me a tip on ko-fi !

Profile Image for Emily May.
1,921 reviews290k followers
October 16, 2019
"Wish I could have raised you in a place where the history books don't lie, but pretty much all history books lie."

I broke my usual habit of reading books in a couple of days with Dig. I actually spent over a week dipping in and out of it while my family visited. And, strangely, I think it was the right decision for this book. It's a tough read in multiple ways. It's an uncomfortable, ugly read about multi-generational racism and the far-reaching consequences of hate and abuse - among other things - and it's also a typical mind-bendy and weird A.S. King novel.

I think taking my time with it helped me unpack all the layers of the story. And there are many.

It starts out very odd. The book moves between a large cast of characters, all living their own seemingly unrelated lives, with suggested elements of magical realism. This is A.S. King, so she doesn't shy away from dark subjects, and each character is dealing with their own problems or trauma. What makes it especially strange is that some of the characters are called things like "The Freak" and "The Shoveler". It is an odd choice, but I promise that it does all eventually come together.

The weird, disorientating style is difficult to read at first, but when I got into the book, I couldn't put it down. When the bigger picture started to form, I saw what the author was doing. And it was really fucking impressive.
"Thing is," he says, "we can run around the planet a hundred times and we're still who we are."

There's so much going on here and it's hard to know exactly what to reveal. The stories in here are all very different, the characters' voices all distinct, yet they are all about fraught relationships between parents and children. Loretta lives in a wagon with her mother and abusive father; The Shoveler, on the other hand, has never known his father and he takes jobs after school to support himself and his mother; CanIHelpYou?'s friendship/romance is threatened by her mother's bigotry.

I found one of the book's most poignant and heartbreaking moments to be when a friendship is ruined by a discovery that changes everything. I won't ruin it. But those WRONG WORDS cut me deep. I feel like I should have seen it coming.

Dig is a book of many metaphors, the title also being one. The process of reading it is a journey to the root of an old issue, a poisonous seed planted decades ago that is still infecting the lives and minds of people today. To speak as plainly as possible (and that's not easy with this book), it is a book about how the hatred sown by parents and grandparents has embedded itself in the lives of young Americans today.

An utterly weird, disturbing and original novel.

CW: Racism, misogyny, homophobic slurs, abuse.

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Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
499 reviews60.2k followers
March 29, 2019
And this is why Amy is my favourite author. Dig is just so perfect and my exact brand of weird; I feel like it was written just for me.
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
692 reviews3,240 followers
December 27, 2020
2020 Best Books of the Year [#10 of 11]

This book gets under the skin and takes root. Highly recommend.

A. S. King's Printz Award winner is an unapologetic examination of generational racism, white privilege, and toxic masculinity in America. It's occasionally didactic, with King pushing her characters to extremes to enforce a theme, but the overemphasis is bearable and worth digging through.

Dig is a poignant contemporary novel with hints of mystery and inklings of a thriller. It's told from the viewpoint of several complex characters in differing perspectives and is, above all, masterfully plotted.
White is a passport. It's a ticket. The world is a white amusement park and your white skin buys you into it.


We could all be shot dead by a crazy asshole with a gun because nobody really cares about dead schoolkids. We could all be kidnapped and no one would look for us. The chances of me getting raped before I graduate college are ridiculously high. The chances of me being abused by a future partner are about 40 percent. And there's no class about that at school.


The guys I've known would cut her up like The Freak said the first night I met her - ass, chest, legs, face, hair. They'd notice her big front teeth and how she doesn't wear makeup. They'd laugh at the bites on her arms - when I want to apply salve to them. Boys are fucked up, man.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,379 reviews11.7k followers
January 27, 2020
Printz Medal 2020

I love A.S. King, but this was not her best.

I am really not on the same page with the Printz Committee this year:(

One of the weakest A.S. King works, IMO. Too heavy on surrealism. Effective as a story of a dysfunctional family, dragging its dysfunction from one generation into the next. But heavy handed in how it takes on racism (although when isn't it when written by a well-meaning white lady?). Showing instead of telling would go a long way here. Basically, underbaked.
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews66.4k followers
October 6, 2020
[Book #2 for my grad school YA class]
Profile Image for Billie.
930 reviews79 followers
March 26, 2019
I never quite know how to talk about A.S. King's books. They aren't straightforward narratives that walk up and say "Here's your story and here's the lesson you should take from it." They're skittish things, like stray kittens, who nose up to you out of the corner of your vision but, when you turn to look at them, they dash away to hide in the shrubbery and peer out at you with glowing eyes. Dig is no exception. It twists and turns and bobs and weaves and not until the very end does it stay in one place long enough for the reader to get a good look at the thing as a whole.

And what can I really say about it that is going to make any sense and not give the whole thing away? Five kids, all misfits and outsiders. One older couple, set in their ways and estranged from most of their family. Two brothers—two rather unpleasant brothers. Assorted parents and other adults, all of whom are rather awful in their own ways. Who are all of these characters? I can't tell you. How do their stories relate? Can't tell you that either. All I really can tell you is that Dig is weird and wonderful and painful and beautiful, like that feral kitten mentioned above. You need to accept that it's going to do everything it can to elude you and when you finally corner it to get a good look, it's likely to hiss and scratch, but you'll love it anyway.
Profile Image for Megan.
224 reviews4,090 followers
April 11, 2020
????? I'm really not sure what I just read???? but I think I loved it??????? wtf?????????

*when you think a book is gonna be about potato farmers but it's actually about white supremacy*
Profile Image for Marianne.
3,271 reviews117 followers
April 7, 2019
Dig is the tenth novel by award-winning American author, A.S. King. The sixteen-year-old and his mom are new in this Pennsylvania town (though Mom says she has old business here). It’s January, and snowing a blizzard; he gets a snow shovel from the guy in the house next door to their leaky apartment, and becomes The Shoveler. For the old couple advertising painting work, he’s the painter kid.

The seventeen-year-old has lived here all her life. Her parents are rich so she doesn’t need to work, but she does the Drive-thru at Arby’s so she can have her own money (she won’t take theirs) and supply her clients. She shares obnoxious customer stories with her best friend Ian, of whom her racist parents and grandparents don’t approve because of his colour. She sees herself as CanIHelpYou.

Malcolm’s dad is dying of cancer; he really wants to spend more time with his dad (no, he won’t be phased by the sickness and ass-wiping) but keeps getting shuffled off to his grandparents. Marla insists on trying to make him eat lamb (he can’t), while Gottfried is apologetic; they’re both racists, filthy rich and Marla, in particular, is very tight with their money.

Loretta wishes her mom would not keep taking her dad back; he’s violent and abusive. If her mom had some money, they could escape. Loretta gets away from it all with her flea circus: she’s the Ringmistress. She remembers her Pop-Pop fondly but hasn’t seen her grandparents in years.

Into (and out of) each of their lives flickers The Freak. Is she real? She seems magical, and helpful, in strange ways, sorting out their thoughts, nudging them in the right direction.

Gottfried knows he spent too many years building their fortune while neglecting his five children; Marla’s warped conviction to make her children self-sufficient has led to their resentment of her, and she and Gottfried have lost more than they will ever realise.

King’s superb story is carried by these smart and quirky teens. Everyone is flawed, but the adults have had longer to mess up. It’s easy to wish for good outcomes for these young people, who deserve better than they’ve had so far. Each has their own way of coping with what life deals out to them; there’s hope in that.

King’s characters harbour secrets and guilt, but also display a capacity for love and adaptability. Her demonstration of how entrenched racist/white supremacist attitudes can seem almost unconscious is thought provoking, as is the idea of segregation of donated blood; the male mindset allowing, even encouraging rape and violence is confronting and will be a challenge to alter.

It’s part murder mystery, part lamentation for the state of human relations, part rallying call to young adults to think for themselves, to question authority; it’s an utterly brilliant read.
Profile Image for Sol ~ TheBookishKing.
302 reviews177 followers
March 18, 2020
4.5/5 Stars

i really enjoyed this, a lot. and then the ending holy crap that was shocking to me 😳

i kept zoning out while listening to it sometimes so id have to rewind it and then go back and listen again, so chances are i missed some details but overall i really loved this book
Profile Image for Yusra  ✨.
249 reviews510 followers
August 16, 2019
I don’t really have words right now. “Dig” is not only one of the most important books I’ve read, it’s also one of the most unforgettable. A.S. King really DID THAT.

full RTC when I can actually understand how to describe this ugly, emotional masterpiece
Profile Image for Claudia P. Torkan.
624 reviews62 followers
April 30, 2021
"Hlúpe, však? Šestnásťročný chalan hľadá odpoveď, keď ani nepozná otázku. Ibaže tú otázku poznáme všetci.
Tá otázka znie: Čo tu vlastne robím?"

Ak mi po tomto niekto povie, že YA žáner nie je pre každého, trepnem mu jednu s odhŕňačom. Toto bolo niečo NESKUTOČNÉ!

Táto kniha nie je skvelá z toho titulu, že keď ju dočítate, chcete sa do nej pustiť odznova. To isto nie. Vec sa má totiž tak, že vy, keď ju dočítate, ostanete ešte hodnú chvíľu hľadieť pred seba s otvorenou papuľou a raneným srdcom, premýšľajúc, čo to, K*RVA, bolo?

Každý má svoje problémy. Niektorí väčšie, niektorí menšie. Zúfalstvo a smútok sú však všadeprítomné a nebolo časti, ktorú by som si nezvýraznila so slovami: That hit hard!
Lebo ono to je silná kniha. Postavy sú obeťami rasizmu, predsudkov, nepochopenia... Majú dosť na nič životy, ktoré sa snažia prežiť. A pritom jedia zemiaky, lebo why not?

Ani neviem, ako k tomuto napísať recenziu "na úrovni". Čo naťukať do klávesnice, aby to neznelo tak zničene, ako som sa cítila. Nemôžem znieť múdro ani nechcem. Príbeh sa so mnou tiež nemaznal. A napriek tomu som si ho prečítala a keď sa mi naskytne možnosť, prečítam si to znova.

Je pravda, že prvých 70-90 strán som bola riadne zmätená. V knihe vystupuje veľa postáv, ktorých príbehy sa postupne dozvedáme, a tak skáčeme od jedného ku druhému. Miestami, hlavne pri Čudáčke, som ani nevedela či sp niektoré veci skutočné alebo nie.
"V mnohých ohľadoch sa cíti nahá celý čas. V mnohých ohľadoch celý čas nahá aj je. To je zrejme to, čo na nej desí ľudí najviac."

A.S.King si za svoju prácu zaslúži každé jedno ocenenie a ešte aj viac. Skladám pred ňou klobúk. (či rúško, keď máme tú koronu? lol)

Nájdete tu toľko tém, že sa miestami budete cítiť overwhelmed, no potom budete vďační za všetko, čo tam autorka vložila, pretože hoci sa o tom ťažko číta, predstava, že niekde vo svete sa to aj teraz deje je ešte desivejšia. Iba ak sa ľudia neprestanú o týchto veciach baviť, rozoberať ich, iba tak môž prísť k zmene v spoločnosti. A to nehľadiac na to, či sa postava volá Jake, Ian alebo trebárs Jakub a Noro. Na menách absolútne nezáleží, pretože príbeh... ten je rovnaký.

Neviem, čo k tomu viac dodať, snáď len na vás apelovať, aby ste si to prečítali. Je to ya príbeh, no zároveň aj generačný román. Rozoberá osudy rodiny, ktorá na prvý pohľad vyzerá ako moja či vaša. Ktovie, možno že aj v skutočnosti je ako vaša. Nemôžem vám zaručiť, že ju budete milovať, pretože rozoberá náročné témy, pri ktorých môžete byť naštvaní, zmätení a smutní, no vedzte, že toto je kniha, kde sa miestami usmejete aj cez slzy. Budete to cítiť všetko.
Presne taký mix, aký všetci poznáme.

(a nakoniec skončíte ako ja s premočenými stránkami od sĺz, lebo vôbec nie som taká citlivka, iba ma zastihla alergia.)
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
951 reviews730 followers
June 26, 2020
The first time I read Dig, I didn't get what this book is all about so I put it on my on-hold shelf. I can't absorb anything. It's an obvious A. S. King novel, with the magical realism, surrealism and the weird (that I'm used to) but I just didn't get it.

Until I found a physical copy in a bookstore some time later and read it for the second time. I still didn't get all the things the books are addressing, if I'm being honest, since there's a lot to learn and comprehend. But, I managed to learn a lot from this book. And I get hooked, mind you.

My major takeaway, probably, is about the conflict between generations: baby boomers and gen-z/ millennial. Baby boomers: underestimating the younger generation especially on decision-making and speaking up, invalidating their struggles and shaming them for their shortcomings.

Anyway, there is a lot going on. Dig tackles racism, abuse, white supremacy, hate and other harsh realities teens are struggling with that is uncomfortable to read but important.

Dig, as a part mystery, successfully entranced me in the end. I must say, I loved this novel more because of that ending that I didn't expect at all.

This review doesn't justify enough the brilliance and originality of this novel. But, Dig is important, so read it.

Will re-read.
Profile Image for Nev.
995 reviews126 followers
April 5, 2019
*Lady Gaga voice*: Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, never been done before.

A.S. King’s books are so weird and so wonderful. Dig is a difficult book to explain, like many of her books. I’m not even going to begin to try and describe the plot. Just know that it’s an incredibly strange and moving story that covers many topics, such as family, abuse, privilege, race, death, and much more.

I know this isn’t going to be a book that everyone enjoys… but I think if you’ve liked her previous books then you should give this one a try. Or if you’ve never read her books but are down to try something different and the synopsis sounds intriguing, then go for it.
Profile Image for Alyssa Chrisman.
110 reviews2 followers
November 15, 2020
I love A.S. King so much. This is the book I didn’t know I (we) needed until I read it.
Profile Image for Ivka.
369 reviews117 followers
September 27, 2020
Odhŕňač so sebou všade nosí plastový odhŕňač na sneh. Všade.
Čudáčka je hlineným burritom.
Malcolm cez víkend lieta s otcom na Jamajku, aj keď jeho otec nemá peniaze na jedlo.
Loretta je principálka najlepšieho blšieho cirkusu v Amerike.
A keď sa v správny čas zastavíte v tom správnom Arby's, u Akovámpomôžem? si môžete k jedlu objednať drogy.

Čítať túto knihu je asi také príjemné, ako počúvať škrípanie nechtov po tabuli. Neviem, či má A. S. King nepríjemnejšiu knihu. Veľa hlavných hrdinov, veľa znepokojivých obrazov, veľa postáv, ktorých správanie je také neskutočne nepríjemné. Bože. Väčšinu knihy ani len neviete, o čo vlastne komu ide. Je to výjav zo života? Bude to mať nejakú pointu? Aký to má celé zmysel?

Táto kniha má byť nepríjemná. Minulý rok vyhrala strašne prestížnu cenu za najlepšiu teen knihu roka a nečudujem sa, pretože vŕta do veľmi veľa moderných amerických problémov - rasizmus, policajná brutalita, ultrapravica, triedne a generačné ekonomické rozdiely... také tie veci. Je to YA, ale viem si predstaviť, že dospelí ju ocenia oveľa viac, či už kvôli obsahu, alebo takému mierne surrealistickému štýlu, akoby autorka pri písaní na niečom fičala.

Pôvodne som dala len štyri hviezdičky, pretože je to moja prekladová autorka, mám ju načítanú a viem, že niektoré témy sú recyklované z jej minulých kníh, čiže šlo o trrrošku lepšie, ale keď som to čítala pri práci naposledy a zase si všimla nové a nové veci, uvedomila som si, že to chce aj tú piatu. Jedinečná kniha, ktorá (ak ju čítate naozaj pozorne) zarezonuje. Som veľmi rada, že ju budeme môcť mať v slovenčine.

Veru Dietzovú si láskavo nevšímajte ★★★★★
Ask the Passengers ★★★★☆
Everybody Sees the Ants ★★★★☆
I Crawl Through It ★★★★☆
Profile Image for Zuzana Dankic.
319 reviews22 followers
November 7, 2021
Toto je z jedna z tych knih - ktora sa Vam bud bude velmi pacit, alebo strasne nepacit. Mne sa dost pacila, aj ked mam na nu par vyhrad.
Luu vo svojej recenzii o nej napisala - "Čítať túto knihu je asi také príjemné, ako počúvať škrípanie nechtov po tabuli." Absolutne s nou suhlasim. Je neprijemna, lebo situacie, v ktorych sa tinedzeri nachadzaju spolu aj s ich rodicmi su neprijemne a tazke. Su take, ako ich vie priniest iba zivot. Ludia su v nich neprijemni, nestaraju sa o svoje deti, lebo nemaju na to silu, alebo sa staraju az moc, lebo si myslia, ze maju na to pravo. Odsudzuju ludi, miluju ludi. Nenavidia ciernu rasu, ale najde sa aj laska ku nej.
Pokazena rodina smrdi od hlavy - od prarodicov, rodicov..., A.S.King dava sancu tymto mladym, aby isli inou cestou. Prestali s rozdelovanim ludi, s rasizmom, dealovanim drog, hladanim otca, s vystupovanim v imaginarnom cirkuse, so sexizmom. Tazko je vymanit sa z tej zeme, ktora vas drzi a nechce pustit. Ale vsetko su to relevantne temy, ktore sa dotykaju starych aj mladych.

Co mne neslo uplne po chuti bola Cudacka - kto bude citat pochopi, nechcem spoilerovat - s jej cudnymi a trochu aj nudnymi kapitolami som sa moc nestotoznila. Ano, chapala som preco je to tak napisane (ku koncu sa to objasni), ale kludne to mohlo byt aj s mensim tlakom na pilku. Proste tato postavicka mi prisla nadbytocna alebo mozno nespravne podana, ukotvena, neviem to velmi pomenovat.

Knihu som si precitala rada. Nie je to uplne pre mna spisovatelske majstrovstvo, ale tym o com pise, je kniha dolezita a na konci dava tomu nadej, taku americku. No nevadi, to je moja druha vyhrada.
viem ale povedat, ze tuto knihu si urcite budem pamatat dlhsie ako ine.
Profile Image for knizny.zavislak.
142 reviews56 followers
June 15, 2021
Toto nie je typická YA. Nie je to milý, príjemný a ani rozkošný príbeh. Popravde, je to ako dostať handrou do tváre. A nielen raz.

Pri čítaní tejto knihy sa mi viackrát stalo, že som ostala sedieť ako omráčená. Dve krátke vety ma dokázali tak silno "udrieť" a prekvapiť. Doteraz sa pýtam, že ako je to možné. Následne som často musela zavrieť knihu a nejako to stráviť.

Veľmi sa mi páčilo aj zakomponovanie trochu "nadprirodzena". Už som sa s tým stretla pri predchádzajúcej knihe Veru Dietzovu si láskavo nevšímajte, takže trochu som to aj očakávala, že autorka si zachová svoj štýl.

Podivné mená mi sprvu vadili, ale počas deja som si na to zvykla. Bolo to také svojské. Plus nadchlo ma ako sa to na konci všetko pospájalo a vysvetlilo.

"V tejto rodine kopte hlbšie" sa nebude každému páčiť. Popravde, úplne rozumiem ľuďom, ktorí si ju neobľúbili. Je to iné, trošku experimentálne. Ale zároveň ju môžem len odporúčať, lebo je to neobyčajný príbeh s (ťažko stráviteľným) posolstvom.

8 reviews1 follower
August 19, 2019
Before I begin to rant about Dig, I would like to say the one positive I drew from this book: the unique writing style. Usually I am annoyed by having several POVs, but I felt as though A.S. King did a wonderful job controlling the narrative. I actually enjoyed not knowing everyone's names but instead knowing them by how others perceived them. The Shoveler carried a snow shovel for a good portion of the book. The Freak was seen as a weirdo to others. CanIHelpYou? was a fast food employee on the outside. Loretta the Flea Circus Ring Mistress truly believed that her imaginary crowd saw her as an entertainer. First-Class Malcolm was often mislabeled as rich due to constant first-class flying. It was a subtle commentary, and I appreciated how it helped evolve the book.

HOWEVER. And this is a big however and the reason I feel obligated to rate this a one star,

It is hard to read a book when the author is focusing more on trying to force their opinion on the reader than on telling a compelling story that can guide a change in their reader's opinion over the course of the novel. All of the characters that were portrayed as protagonists kept repeating the same message and seemed to only serve as an extension of A.S. King's political agenda. Any other characters were rude, extremely racist, possibly a sexual assaulter, and, coincidentally enough, occasionally described as "conservative" (gasp!). Now I do feel I need to add the disclaimer that I do not consider myself to be conservative, or republican. However, I feel as though the way A.S. King is blatantly correlating being a conservative with being an antagonist is extremely insensitive to both republican/conservatives and people who face discrimination at the hands of racists and rapists.

She also wrote that "Because, let's face it--boys aren't taught the same things. They aren't taught to be... even nice". I am extremely upset that A.S. King decided to use this stereotype to portray how boys and men are brought up in society. Having two extremely polite brothers myself, I saw such a broad statement both insulting my brothers and also my parents. I saw the statement insulting half of my classmates and half of my town. Personally I have met more rude girls than rude boys, but I don't go around saying that girls aren't raised properly- because I realize that it would be rude to say an entire orchard is bad due to a few rotten apples.

I felt as though A.S. King also addressed racism without the proper approach. Every white character was racist in this book.

There were groups of white supremacists, white people glorifying the Confederacy, and tattoos that said "100% WHITE POWER" even though racism is rarely this blatant.

She wrote a scene where a black college professor told an all white class that they had to live with their ancestors committing terrible crimes by colonizing the Americas, as if it isn't prejudicial and wrong to place blame on people who are not responsible for things their ancestors did- disregarding the fact that most of those students probably did not have ancestors in America until the 1900s.

She would have several of her characters go on tirades about the privileges of white people, such as being able to crash their parents' car because they were stoned and not have their parents find out. I'm sorry, but how is it "white privilege" to be able to successfully lie to your parents?

The one black character in book WAS best friends with one of the main characters. Until he broke off their friendship because she wasn't black and so she couldn't possibly understand his troubles. Even though her family life was a mess and she didn't seem to have any other friends. By writing this A.S. King is basically saying that as a white person you can't be friends with a black person because you don't have the background and it's better for the black person if they just cut ties. But doesn't that promote segregation by encouraging you to only be friends with people that look like you? I understand that racism exists, and it probably always will to some extent, but A.S. King seems to believe that all white people are racists and shows this through improbable situations.

Lastly, there were many times where instead of being able to appreciate the important messages the book was trying to send, I felt as though the author was personally attacking me. A.S. King made the decision to have the narrative directly address her readers. Her characters would then proceed to tell YOU how terrible YOU are for being rude to fast food employees. They would criticize YOU for being privileged, or for YOU being white. They would criticize YOU for having differing views ("CHANGE YOUR MIND"), and for YOU being competitive during games (such as an Easter egg hunt). I just wish she wasn't so aggressive in how she wrote the novel because it felt as though she had a great disdain for the reader when her message would have been much better received if she led the reader to her conclusion.

Instead there were only two characters in this book: A.S. King and racist conservatives.
Profile Image for Monica (crazy_4_books).
641 reviews114 followers
July 14, 2021
I cannot believe more people haven't read this book! It touches topics that are very much present in America right now. It's aimed to a YA audience, but for me it's better for older teens say 16 years old onward and adults too. I don't usually give a YA book 5 stars since I'm in my forties, but this book is unique, can't even compare it to anything I've read so far in the genre.
The writing style is weird in a good way. You get introduced to these five cousins who have weird nicknames, it's messy at the beginning but then everything starts to make sense. The third act wraps everything up. It's sarcastic and funny at times and also heartbreaking as shit. I cried a lot towards the ending, however; the ending is quite hopeful taking into account the raw awful reality these characters have to face. By reading the summary you get the basics on the story, I don't want to add things because it will spoil the element of surprise.
It's a family drama, a society commentary about racism and abuse and other terrible things, and also adds magical realism, which makes it different from other YA contemporaries out there. The characters' depth is amazing, it's a character driven book, obviously...

"..., I've never understood white people who can't admit they're white. I mean, white isn't just a color. And maybe that's the problem for them. White is a passport. It's a ticket. The world is a white amusement park and your white skin buys you into it..."

I cannot praise this book enough. I just hope some of my friends here get excited and go for it.
Profile Image for Zuzulivres.
332 reviews93 followers
November 19, 2021
Velmi som sa bavila napriek tomu, ze nie som cielovka tejto knihy, urcite patri v kategorii young adult za tie nadpriemerne. A naviac i velmi dolezite, pretoze nesie v sebe krasny odkaz a nadej v buduce generacie. Tazke a neprijemne citanie v mozaikovito-spletitom labyrinte, v ktorom sa stratime a znovu najdeme. Mozno o trochu ini, lepsi...
Profile Image for reading is my hustle.
1,459 reviews279 followers
August 7, 2020
Holy. Hell. I may never recover. After doing some digging (ha!) I realized that my reaction is exactly what the author hoped for. This is a story about racism passed down between the generations. It’s an exploration of white middle class privilege & includes all the social ills white suburban respectability tries to hide: class, sexism, patriarchy, abuse. As the pieces start to snap into place & the realities of normalized racism become clear it’s devastating.
Profile Image for Text Publishing.
574 reviews216 followers
April 23, 2019
'Brutally candid, Dig is well worth the intellectual and emotional investment.’
Shelf Awareness

'Dig represents the counter-intuitiveness of the best of the YA genre in being an ingeniously choreographed cautionary tale for all ages.'

Profile Image for alana ♡.
639 reviews1,234 followers
December 26, 2020
“This book is supposed to be uncomfortable. I’d apologize, but I’m not sorry.”

I'm so glad I decided to pick this up on a whim & even happier I went with the audiobook. It's been a long time since I've really been blown away and so invested by a book but Dig left me unsure yet fascinated to see where the story would take its characters. It's definitely an odd and uncomfortable story but when it all comes together it's eye opening, important and completely worth the read.
Profile Image for Maťa.
991 reviews18 followers
May 19, 2021

Zhrňme si pozitíva:
1. Nádherný vizuál knihy.
2. Krátke kapitoly, čiže kniha sa čítala relatívne rýchlo (i keď nie tak veľmi ako by som chcela).
3. Veta: ,,Niektorí chlapi sú na zadok, ďalší sú na prsia a iní na nohy. Hľadám chlapa na mozog. Zatiaľ som ho nenašla."
Koniec tejto vyčerpávajúcej a dlhej časti.

Nenávidím túto knihu. Strašne, strašne moc. Bude to najhoršia kniha, ktorú som tento rok čítala. Dúfam. Lebo poraziť ju bude náročné.
Ak by sa ma niekto pýtal na to, o čom kniha je, odpoviem že o fajčení a zemiakoch. Lebo to sú najvýraznejšie prvky knihy pre mňa. Všetky postavy trávili dni fajčením trávy alebo cigariet a spomínali zemiaky.
Boli tam síce aj témy ako kritika rasizmu, boj s chorobou, domáce násilie či nefunkčná rodina, no to bolo všetko obalené takým množstvom vaty, že ani továreň na jej výrobu by sa za to nehanbila.

V polke knihy som začala dúfať, že príde smrteľný vírus, zombie apokalypsa alebo aspoň biblická potopa. Ja neviem, čokoľvek, len aby sa tam niečo dialo. Keby autorka analyzuje fľaky na bielej stene, ťažko by to mohlo byť menej zaujímavé ako toto. A pritom tie spomenuté témy sú zaujímavé. Aj obsah tejto knihy by mohol byť - keby to napísal niekto iný. Nesadol mi ani autorkin štýl písania, pretože ešte aj žiak prvého stupňa základnej školy vie písať dlhšie súvetia. (Občas sa tam zjavili aj normálne vety, no boli v menšine.) A to si takéto veci v knihách väčšinou nevšímam.

Ďalej je v knihe asi milión postáv a viaceré majú hlúpe prezývky. Máme tu postavy s "menami" Akovámpomôžem?, Odhŕňač, Čudáčka. Nie je tu jediná sympatická postava (ok, možno Malcolm), ale takisto tu nie je žiadna výrazná postava. Všetci boli úplne meh a keby všetci naraz poumierali, tak to u mňa nevyvolá ani takú emotívnu reakciu ako roztopená zmrzlina (tej by bola škoda). Teda, tá Malcolmova storyline vo mne vyvolala štipku emócií, ale stále by asi viedla tá zmrzlina.

Nie som knižný barbar, knihu by som nikdy z okna nevyhodila, ale ak by som si to chcela niekedy skúsiť, tak by to bola táto. Lebo jediné, čo mi táto kniha dala boli hnev, migréna a samovražedné myšlienky, vždy keď som si uvedomila, že ešte nie som na konci. Návod na používanie práčky je zaujímavejší (síce som to nečítala, ale aké zlé to môže byť?)
Ja neviem, čo čítali ostatní ľudia, no ak toto je najlepšia tínedžerská kniha minulého roka, bojím sa o budúcnosť YA literatúry.

A teraz... Teraz som rada, že som na napísanie recenzie nečakala do konca knihy. Mala som vyše 100 strán do konca, keď som potrebovala dostať zo seba svoje pocity. Ostali autentické.

Pretože potom prišlo posledných 70 strán. A tie boli dobré. Nutne síce nezmenili môj názor na knihu keď som 300 strán nenávidela, ale konečne som zistila, že kniha mala niečo do seba. Spracovanie síce bolo v mojich očiach príšerné, no nápad bol reálne veľmi dobrý a kniha mohla byť skvelá... Keby ju napísal niekto iný. Začala som chápať, čo ostatní hovorili o komplexnosti. Veru, dobre to bolo vymyslené. Len čo z toho, keď som 300 strán trpela?
Stále ju neznášam.
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