Liz Burns has an excellent review of Blythe Woolston’s The Freak Observer on her blog this morning. Aside from being glowing, I think this is one of the first reviews for this book I’ve seen that shine a spotlight on one of the novels strong points: Loa’s family (particularly her parents):
Loa’s father is not a violent man, he is a man moved to violence because he watched a beloved child die, he lost his job and sees his wife and daughter working to put food on the table, and he is moved to the violent act against Loa because she has come home in a police car after having witnessed a friend die in a truck accident which may be suicide. Loa thinks, “What’s the difference? Why am I not a dead girl? I don’t for a minute know. I look at my dad. He can’t let himself be sad. He can’t let himself be frightened. But I’ve forced this moment. The fear jumps out of his eyes and into me like a hot spark. ‘You could’a been the dead one.’ That’s when he hits me with the plunger, because I could have been the dead one. He hits me because it is easier to be angry than to be afraid. I could have been the dead one, but I’m not.” This is a story not of the toll that caring for an child takes on a family, it is the story of what happens to the family after that child who has been the center of the family dies.
Yes, yes, yes.
I think of Blythe’s book as a story of the center failing to hold and the new solar systems that arise from the destruction.