...recent reading list and to gather a few comments on their selection.
This week our guest reviewer is Kay Brennan, Director of Hesperia Community Library. She chose a first novel by an author who hails from Petoskey and has managed to produce one of the best lines ever written about cold-weather months in the Mitten.
"And that’s the problem with winter in Cutler County,” Percy mused. “It's not so much the cold; it's the fact that at some point the ass-kicking feels personal."
Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser
Percy is a teenager doing the best she can in Cutler County in northern Michigan. She lives with her mom, a woman fighting meth and alcohol addiction, has dropped out of school and works refinishing furniture. There is a snowstorm coming and it is a northern Michigan, lake-effect blizzard. Percy’s mom is missing from the trailer and she knows she will find her at the home of a local drug maker/dealer, Shelton Potter.
When Percy gets to the house she has to wade through garbage to get into it only to determine that her mom isn’t there. Shelton and his girlfriend are there but they are sleeping off the effects of a drug binge. When Percy goes upstairs she finds an infant left alone in a cold room with the window open and snow blowing in. Percy makes an impulsive decision to take the baby out of the house, into town to the hospital.
After they are gone Shelton wakes up and sends his friends to hunt down the person that took the baby. Percy’s journey to town through the snow, hunted by Shelton and his friends, trying to keep the baby alive make up this adventure story. If you’ve driven through the Charlevoix or Traverse City region, you know the setting of this book. This was a book that was humorous and sad.
Percy’s relationship with her mom was clearly a struggle for both of them. The plight of the baby was too real and the reader hopes that Percy can save her.
There are other characters that are subject to so many mishaps that the reader can’t decide if they are humorous characters or tragic. This was a great story with compelling characters that you hate to see end. The author is originally from Petoskey.
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