“The wonder is that you could start life with nothing, end with nothing, and lose so much in between.”
——————“I don’t know a single person, my age who’s not taking pills.”
Kingsolver gives you exactly what she promises with this one. This story is stark and heartbreaking with a 2022 view on institutional poverty that well mirrors Dicken’s David Copperfield. Demon has the cards stacked against him from the start and never, not for one second, escapes that fate. He’s a mixed race kid with a dead father, a drug addled mother and a life empty of fulfillment. He lives through abject hunger, the absolute worst of the foster care system and the time in Appalachia where oxys are handed out like candy. He faces all of the adversity you could imagine but he maintains his heart and sharp brain. He always wants better but can never seem to get there. Even the better people in his life can never seem to get him to a better place.
This book is a big swath of America, so while it is an overwhelmingly depressing read, it is a viewpoint that is relevant. I’m glad I did it on audio because I think I would have struggled getting through 500+ pages of sad. There are a lot of deaths and abuse and children who never get the joy of innocence. But it’s powerful and truthful and well worth a read. It tackles well the systemic aspects of keeping the poor uneducated and placated with just enough to not rise up looking for better.
Thanks to LibroFM for gifted access via the ALC program. All opinions above are my own.
What are you planning to read this weekend?