The story will probably remind everyone of their own trials as adolescents and the effort needed to keep sane through it all. All along, to set the stage, we are reminded of the political movements in the 1980s, from Reagan to George H. W. Bush; many pop-cultural references, such as Madonna and other 80’s pop icons, and the TV movie The Day After. There is also much about Evangelicals and tent revivals. This seems to only help you create Evelyn’s universe in your mind and it helps make it all too real, makes you feel like you’ve been there.
You get carried away by all the layers in the storytelling and attention to detail, but never flooding you with it, either. The only issue I have with the writing is that the writer cuts into another “scene” without indication. It creates interruptions in the story arc; like cutting from one scene to another on a TV show or movie. But there are no visual clues to tell you that there’s been a change of scene, leaving the reader with the feeling that something’s missing, like the reader absently skipped a paragraph. After a few chapters the reader becomes habituated to this and is by then too engrossed by this book that it comes alive, so its small faults are easily ignored.
I just couldn’t put it down; it read as easily as Steinbeck and I believe, could without contest, replace classic reading material for high-schools. It’s more up to date and relevant to today than say, literary classics such as The Catcher in the Rye, or Of Mice and Men. Graceful storytelling, touching material and a good message that you don’t need to railroad your life, that you can escape the machinations and traps set out before you, that you can soar above your troubles and succeed.
When I read the final words of the book, I felt sad because I wanted the experience to continue. Now I’m afraid of picking up another novel for fear that it won’t be as good, as captivating as this wonderful work of literature.
Somebody give Laura Moriarty a prize--all I can give her is a 4 outta 5 for this shining gem. And you must read this book.