Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Coming of Age
Approximate word count: 90-95,000 words
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A native Floridian, Sandra Hutchison moved north during high school and has remained there. Currently she lives in Troy, NY with her family and teaches writing at Hudson Valley Community College. She has once other novel, The Awful Mess, available.
For more, visit Hutchison’s website.
“It’s the summer of 1977 in a small town in Western Massachusetts. Physics professor David Asken has just lost his young family in a plane crash he somehow survived. Sixteen-year-old neighbor Molly Carmichael used to be the babysitter, but now will be keeping house for him while he recuperates. He’s quietly planning to end his life just as soon as he can drive again, but may not be willing to wait that long after he comes across his dead wife’s journal and encounters more hostility than he had ever imagined. Molly is trying to cope with being known as Tampon Girl, thanks to a sculpture by her notorious artist mother, but she will have to deal with much worse after a drunken teenage party.
Both man and girl are going to have to grow up the hard way, and it’s their unexpected connection — fraught with potential scandal — that may just help them do it. This provocative coming-of-age novel asks: Is there ever a time when doing the wrong thing might be exactly right?”
The reasons people read fiction and what they expect or hope to get from the experience varies, not only from reader to reader, but sometimes from book to book. For some, it is purely entertainment or vicarious experience of some kind. Others want something deeper whether it be a message, a thought-provoking story, or a trigger to consider the world and their place in it. A good story will work on both levels, entertaining all readers while providing grist for the mill to those who are looking for something deeper.
The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire has the entertainment part down with a coming of age story set in the late 70s. If that’s your era, you might find it evokes a few nostalgic feelings, but regardless of age, if you’ve ever been a teenager you’ll relate to the struggles of that time in life.
However, odds are if you’re a reader who prefers to be entertained by the surface story, that you’ll find yourself dragged deeper against your wishes. Depending on your thoughts, beliefs, and opinions on some subjects, the direction the story takes may anger you or challenge your beliefs. Thought provoking might be too mild a term as you’re forced to ponder many things including the reasonableness of social norms, whether artistic expression should have limits, and parental responsibility.
Adult themes and some adult language.
A small number of proofing and copyediting issues.
Rating: ***** Five Stars