Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton @roberteggleton1 #RBRT #Bookreview

Today’s team review comes from Barb, she blogs at http://barbtaub.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Barb has been reading Rarity From the Hollow by Robert Eggleton


My review: 3 out of 5 stars for Rarity From the Hollow

Magic Realism:  a literary genre or style that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction. (Miriam Webster)

[Image credit: Stacy Kranitz: The Rape of Appalachia] http://www.readingthepictures.org/2014/02/stacy-kranitz-the-rape-of-appalachia/


Set in Appalachia, Rarity From the Hollow deals with one of the most painful topics possible—child abuse. We meet two little girls, and hear them try to live in a world that includes violence, sexual assault, incest, drug and substance abuse, mental illness, and murder. When little Lacy Dawn turns to inanimate objects such as the trees around her for emotional support and guidance, it’s a compelling and believable image.

But it’s also the story of magical realism in which the the squalor of Lacy’s life is systematically repaired by a bemused alien. The alien, DotCom, hails from a giant shopping mall planet called Shptiludrp that involves a complicated rewards system for those who do just what the planet’s name suggests and “Shop Till You Drop”.

And that’s the problem. For me, the two very different stories never successfully match up. Since the author was a children’s psychotherapist with a particular focus on victims of child abuse, I accept that those aspects of the story are accurate reflections of past incidents and patients. However, when it comes to integrating the stories, there is just too big a disconnect for me. Child abuse isn’t an ideal topic for humor, although Roald Dahl does make the most of its possibilities.  By the same token, the light-hearted spoof of our modern materialistic world never fits comfortably against the horrors of abused little girls.

The characters in the novel do develop and grow from their shallow, often violent and/or mentally ill beginnings. Unfortunately, because this occurs as a result of magic alien technology, it’s not clear what their changes mean in the long run. On the one hand, the writing itself takes risks that support the overall storyline, such as the decision to have a variety of characters’ internal thoughts presented as simple text following their verbal statements. But I found the pace of the story uneven, the character-development driven by alien’s magic “cure” somewhat unsatisfying, and the plot deeply divided between a description of Lacy’s abusive and dangerous world and the whimsical, vaguely Ayn Rand-meets-Willie Wonka world of her alien mentor.

I would give Rarity From the Hollow three stars. Author Robert Eggleton has created a believable and compelling world where a robot risks capture in order to rescue the one little girl destined to save the universe. I just wish he had spent more time tying the two stories—child abuse victim and destined Chosen One—together better.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rarity From The Hollow by Robert Eggleton @roberteggleton1 #Bookreview #SundayBlogShare

Rarity from the HollowRarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Rarity from the Hollow straddles several genres; fantasy, sci-fi, social science to name but a few. It comes from an author with a very experienced background in American social services, child welfare, veterans, juvenile youths, homeless youths and the unemployed. This knowledge is weaved through-out the book and shows a deep knowledge of the subjects.

Add to this the author’s own personal background where members of his family suffered domestic abuse, alcoholism and PTSD. First hand experience of these issues allow the author to include these in his book with a great degree of knowledge.

The book is set in West Virginia and there is good use of local dialect and language from the dialogue. We meet Lacy Dawn an incredible eleven year old who has been chosen to save first her parents and then the Universe. She has an alien friend called DotCom who lives in a spaceship in a cave near by. He teaches Lacy Dawn great wisdom which she uses to advise her friends. They also work together to “Fix her family”.

DotCom is supervised by Mr Pump from a fantasy shopping Mall called Shptiludrp, where Lacy Dawn and her mother experience a wonderful stay and shop amongst the other aliens. There are subtle analogies and multiple layers which are all there to be picked over in this complex storyline.

This book isn’t an easy read, the subject matter is at times shocking and made me uncomfortable as a reader. Lacy Dawn’s choice of words and subjects of discussion are at times very disturbing. It reflects a part of society which many of us are sheltered from. The book is dialogue led and this for my reading experience was like wading through deep water, it slowed the pace of the book. I was unable to connect to any of the characters and felt I was watching one of DotCom’s educational videos.

I understand the author has turned to fiction to raise money to prevent child abuse, this is a heavy read but know that your money will go to a good cause.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads