Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back Creek--Leslie Goetsch (book review)

Back Creek is the story of a young woman's summer between high school and college in the mid-seventies. After Grace witnesses a fatal boating accident from her home, events unfold that help her start figuring out where her hometown and family ends, and her individual self begins.

If you like books set in the southern U.S. where the setting plays as much of a role as a character, you'll love this. Virginia is a bit of a puzzle to this northern girl (is it The South? But why? It's smack in the middle!), and I enjoyed getting to know the area through Grace's eyes. The minor characters--a young Vietnam vet, Grace's sister who returns after getting kicked out of the home five years before, and Grace's parents--are unique enough to capture the imagination without taking the focus away from Grace and her journey.

But I wouldn't be honest if I didn't tell you this: halfway through Back Creek, it came time to leave on our road trip to California. With luggage space tight and only 100 pages left of the book, I opted to leave it at home to save space, and instead bring a longer book that would last me the whole trip. I was happy to pick it back up again when we returned, but I had no trouble walking away from it for ten days, either.

The Soundtrack: In the summer of 1975 I was almost 8, and this is what I remember: That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it, uh-huh uh-huh.

Publication Info: Bancroft, 2008; 226 pages
Other reviews: Life in the Thumb
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  1. I have not read much of Southern Lit. Sounds good!

  2. That says a lot when you don't particularly care when you finish a book. Not necessarily bad but just not urgent.

  3. It's funny that you say why is VA considered part of the South- I've just moved to VA and have that same question! My first summer here it was hot and humid and felt well, like southern weather- but this year has been cooler and I keep thinking of myself as living in the Northeast... confusing.

  4. I added this book to my wishlist after I saw Steph Su's review. It's nice to here another opinion on the book.

  5. Virginia is definitely part of the South - it's below the Mason-Dixon line and Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy for a while. I love Southern literature and think this one sounds good.