One of America’s greatest and most prolific modern day authors, Kingsolver brings to us another masterpiece. I loved her work in Unsheltered and in Flight Behavior, but my all-time favorite is The Poisonwood Bible. Even at 20 years old it’s still very readable and if you haven’t read it you should. But her latest work is really remarkable…here is my book review Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.
I’m actually struggling a bit to write this review. This book was disturbing in many ways…for it’s gritty and real portrayal of drug addiction in the United States…specifically in the mountains of southern Appalachia.
Apparently Kingsolver used David Copperfield as inspiration of this novel…but it wasn’t something that came through strongly for me as a reader. What did come through though is Kingsolver’s incredible talent for descriptive narrative, palpable and often painful. There was one passage in this book that I had to set the book down and take a minute it was so real and alarming to read.
But don’t let me scare you away…because this is a must read. It’s deep, factual and substantive.
Damon is our narrator, only eleven when we meet him, dealing with a single mother who is addicted. Damon has faced things in his short life most of us will never deal with; addiction, starvation, neglect, abuse and violence. There are very few stable adults in his life…not even the Department of Social Services representative cares about him.
As Damon bounces around several unsavory, neglectful and dilapidated foster care homes, he dreams of being an artist. A dream so far beyond his reach he can’t even imagine getting there. Penny less, homeless, motherless – Damon encounters a variety of distrustful characters and only has a tiny handful of friends.
When he finally finds his Grandmother she will get him set up in a foster care home that seems stable on the outside. This is when Damon will become a football star, loose it all when injured, get addicted to opioid painkillers, fall in love with an addict and spiral totally out of control.
A Cry for Help
How can so many horrible things happen to one child? It’s a eye-opening testament to our underfunded welfare, child and social services system not to mention the deep prejudice and misunderstanding of the rural region of southern Appalachia. But don’t fret. Damon “Demon” will get his shit together and you will be astonished at how this book unfolds. A new American Masterpiece with a message we all need to hear. Thank you for reading my book review Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.
See last week’s book review The Book of Goose by Yiyun Lee
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