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December 10, 2016

Review: Rarity From The Hollow by Robert Eggleton

by MK French

November 2016; Dog Horn; 978-1907133060;
ebook & print (284 pages); science fiction
a free ebook was provided for this review

Lacy Dawn lives in the hollow of West Virginia with her mother and father and deals with domestic violence, abuse, and then the death of her best friend. She focuses on her education and her friendship with DotCom, the android that lives in a cave and is determined to teach her about her destiny to save the universe. In exchange for this help, Lacy Dawn insists on fixing her parents and herself

There are a lot of problematic elements that Lacy Dawn lives with: the casual violence, the drug use, the ignorance, the poverty, and the repeated mentions of child sexuality. It's disturbing and disturbingly real, and I had many moments where I wished I could swoop in and rescue Lacy Dawn from her family. There's a distinct shift in the book once her parents are "fixed" via ports and cables she installs in her parents' necks. The actual procedure is hand waved and not described, but the plot veers dramatically toward the intergalactic mall and the strange rules that are placed on the shoppers and then on Lacy Dawn in particular. There is quite a bit of meandering here, and then Lacy Dawn's actual mission to save the intergalactic mall and the universe is revealed.

Robert Eggleton worked with struggling families and abused children in West Virginia, and it certainly shows. Proceeds from the sales of this book are being donated, which is a very commendable and worthy cause. The first part of the book is strikingly drawn, and even with the presence of DotCom and Lacy Dawn conversing with the trees and her friend's ghost, feels hauntingly real. The storytelling style is very offputting for me, however. Most of the time, authors are told to show and not tell, but here it's all telling. We get lists of things that the characters did, without much description to let us know how they're affected by it. Instead, the characters' thoughts are interspersed between the bits of action, likely to be third person omniscient narration. I found it very confusing and distracting. The characters' preoccupation with violence, drugs, and sex organs continued even after Lacy Dawn's parents were "fixed," and often derailed otherwise serious moments. She often was the most adult character in the entire book! The end of the novel was absurd, even by the standards set in the second half of the novel. As difficult as it would have been to read because of the content, I would have much preferred to read a story about Lacy Dawn living in the hollow and overcoming the horrible struggles she faced without the ridiculous and over the top antics. Overall, I really didn't enjoy this book.

Buy Rarity From the Hollow at Amazon

MK French, reviewer. Born and raised in New York City, M.K. started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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