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Thursday, July 14, 2011


Amy Greene
Knopf, 2010

Six voices tell the story of Myra Lamb, a girl born to trouble on Bloodroot Mountain. Raised by her Granny Byrdie because her mother left the mountain and died young, Myra inherited sky blue eyes and “the touch” with animals, passed on through generations of granny women. Byrdie can see that Myra is destined for something special; she hopes and prays that good things will happen for her despite the curse that the family has suffered. This curse, probably generated from the ruby ring that Granny herself stole to give to her new husband, has left each family member with much heartache and disappointment over the years.

Six voices tell the story of Myra, and six voices also tell their own version of events that touched all their lives. One of the storytellers is Myra herself, but she has left her mark on the other five that will never go away no matter how much they try to escape it. From the neighbor boy who falls in love with her to the husband who tries to tame her to the twin children who can’t forget her, they all suffer from having known her. And Myra herself? She takes her own turn at expressing all the love, hate, regret, disappointment and forgiveness they each experience on Bloodroot Mountain.

This is a complicated novel that will take you from character to character forward and backward in time. There are many sides to each of their stories and many ways to interpret their motivations and behaviors, but two things triumph in the end: hope and forgiveness. The ending is especially meaningful and may cause you to want to reread the whole thing immediately, just to see if you could have guessed what would happen. I was awestruck by the characters' voices in this book and I couldn't stop thinking about the sequence of events as the author portrayed them. This was a fascinating and mesmorizing story.


This is the author’s first novel.

Other titles you may enjoy:

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell (2006)
Reaching her sixteenth year in the harsh Ozarks while caring for her poverty-stricken family, Ree Dolly learns that they will lose their house unless her bail-skipping father can be found and made to appear at an upcoming court date.

Home by Marilynne Robinson (2008)
Returning to Gilead to care for her dying father, Glory Boughton is joined by her long-absent brother, with whom she bonds throughout his struggles with alcoholism, unemployment, and their father's traditionalist values.

Within Arm’s Reach by Ann Napolitano (2006)
A lyrical novel narrated from six different points of view chronicles the effects of an unexpected pregnancy on three generations of an Irish-American Catholic family.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting, although sometimes I can get confused when the time line shifts back and forth, and with this having 6 different voices, I'm amazed the author can keep it all straight, let alone the reader. But you've peaked my curiosity, so I'll just add it to my every growing list of books I want to read!