Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Review: Empty Places


This is an emotionally gripping coming of age story set in my home state of Kentucky. The time period is around the Great Depression. The town is in Harlan County Kentucky which is a small county in no-where Kentucky. It is an extremely realistic, unapologetic depiction of Appalachian country. The people in this story are dirt poor as were most people during this time. 

When everyone is getting out of dodge little Adabel is despreately trying to keep her family together and hold on to whatever hope she can muster up. Her mama left her when she was just the tender age of six and as you can imagine that really hurts her. She can't remember much of anything about her mama, but everyone else can. Her dad works in the local mine, unfortunately he is the town drunk. His alcoholism turns him mean and borderline abusive at times. 

Because times are rough and money is beyond tight everyone in the family is expected to pitch in. While Adabel is desperately trying to remember her mother, she sets out on a mission to find out. She asks everyone about her. Which is a bad thing to do in a small old town. Eventually she finds out somethings that change everything. It seems she has opened a can of worms. 

Her family is falling apart, she is trying to figure out who she is, while being forced to be a parent. Her dad does attempt to become sober and be the father figure she desperately needs. Unfortunately it isn't always successful, and battling any disease is hard. 

I thought it was a great book for being middle grade / YA. Regardless of how much your life sucks this book will make you beyond grateful for what you do have. This gives you an eye opening account of what was like when hope was lost. It is an incredible read. 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Boyds Mill Press in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review. All thoughts are my own. 

Goodreads Description: 


It is 1932, in Harlan County, Kentucky. Times are tough in the mining community, especially for thirteen-year-old Adabel Cutler’s family. 

As they fight to survive, Adabel has to figure out her own identity while dealing with her volatile father, her dutiful sister, her defiant brother, and her mother’s disappearance, which she can’t seem to remember. 

This is a beautifully written and deeply felt coming-of-age novel by the acclaimed author of Like a River. Includes an author’s note, bibliography, and archival images.


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