Those of you who read this blog regularly know that my taste in literature is pretty unsophisticated. I prefer sappy romances to the classics; formula fiction to literary fiction. Still, when asked to review Sweetie something about the description intrigued me:
About the book: Friendship. Courage. Hope.For shy, stuttering Melissa, the wild mountain girl named Sweetie is a symbol of pride and strength. But to many in their Appalachian town Sweetie is an outcast, a sinister influence, or worse. This poignant and haunting story takes readers deep inside the bittersweet heart of childhood loyalties.
My Comments: Kathryn Magendie can write! I loved her use of language and would periodically stop to read aloud so I could hear myself saying those beautiful words. I don't really think anyone would talk like that, but I could see an old woman in a rocking chair telling this story (the book is written in the first person) to her grandchildren. I'll admit I found the character of Sweetie somewhat unrealistic, but then I'm pretty sure I was supposed to find her unrealistic. As I said earlier, I tend toward the simple in my literary tastes and there are a lot of ways to interpret things in this book. Sweetie is a child of the mountains, who is uncomfortable around people, except around a few who are outcasts for various reasons. Is she real, did the story happen? I'm not sure.
I found Sweetie to be an engaging read, though it didn't provoke any emotional reaction from me, unlike many books with death scenes that have tears rolling down my cheeks. I recommend it to those who like literary fiction or Southern fiction. I think it would make a good book club selection, even though it doesn't come with handy discussion questions at the back--but I think folks could find plenty to discuss without stilted questions that pretend a work is greater than what it really is. At 200 pages it is not work that will bog you down for days. Grade: A-
I'd like to thank Belle Books for providing a review copy.