To my lovely readers in the United States, I hope you’re all having a relaxing Memorial Day weekend! …to everyone else, I hope your weekend is going well too. If you’re confused about the title of this week’s article, I’ve decided to take a bit of a detour, that will last from now until Labor Day at the beginning of September.
I just finished a really good book.
Although I guess that depends on your application of the word “good”. Hit, by Delilah Dawson is a very heavy story, but at 339 pages I honestly couldn’t put it down. Billed as a novel aimed at young adults, it tells the story of Patsy Klein (not to be confused with Patsy Kline, of course), the teen-aged daughter of a single mother in a financially depressed neighborhood of suburban Georgia. Patsy’s mom has cancer, and no money to pay for treatments. In steps Valor Savings Bank, recently changed to just “Valor Savings”, who Patsy’s mom had previously taken out a credit card with. They promise to cover the medical expenses and excuse any other out-standing debt… as long as Patsy will take care of some dirty work for them. If she refuses, they threaten to kill both of them, and set their home on fire. She accepts, desperate for an opportunity to keep her small family together, and is presented the next day with a mail truck and uniform and a list of ten names to whom she must now offer the same set of options – pay off the debt in one lump sum, kill, or be killed. The rest of the book is spent exploring how she handles her task without turning herself into a monster.
It’s dark, and it’s heavy. And I started to feel ashamed part way through when I realized I was enjoying it. But as with most stories that fall in this sort of dystopian vein, there’s enjoying, and then there’s enjoying. I appreciated the revelation that Patsy was a self-taught knitter, and that her big yarn bombing project was one of the things that kept her sane through the ordeal. On the other hand, even though it’s a fictional story, I look at it in the light of the world economy, and my heart sinks. I don’t believe for a moment that it would ever come to something like this in my lifetime… but what if it did? That terrifies me.
Your mileage will probably vary with this one. If you’re looking for a page-turner, I’d be confident recommending it. I actually found out about it via an article someone had retweeted, and the excerpt available from Simon and Schuster hooked me immediately. The ending was left wide-open for more, and I sincerely hope that Ms Dawson revisits it some time.
Rating: 4th Gear
[If you have a topic you’d like me to cover in a future article, please don’t hesitate to email me at Sara at otdt.net.]