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December 7, 2018

Evil is Always Human by Eddie Whitlock ~ a Review

by Donna Huber



When I went to the Indie Author Event at a local library earlier this year, I ran into Eddie Whitlock. He is the librarian that runs the post-apocalyptic book club I attend. I didn't know he is an author. Though the genres he writes aren't really my favorites, he wanted me to give his southern novel a try.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.


Evil is Always Human
2012; United Writers Press; 978-1934216736
print (181 pages); Southern Gothic
I don't really care much for southern literature and I'm not sure if I've ever read any gothic novels given the horrific elements associated with the genre. I tried to go into this novel with an open mind.

The first thing I noticed was the writing style. Whitlock is a great writer. I think even if I had hated the story, I would have kept reading just to experience more of the writing. Evil is Always Human is written in the dialect of an uneducated sharecropper in the early 1900s. Using such a dialect can be a gamble and authors often veer into the comical or unreadable. In Whitlock's capable hands, it was an authentic voice that added to the depth of the novel. Looking through a few reviews at Goodreads, I'm not the only one to praise Whitlock for his exceptional use of dialect. I'm serious, it ranks right up there with Mark Twain.

I enjoyed the historical elements of the story. It is set in middle Georgia - in towns that I have visited and known for their southern history. It was the little things, like mentioning the experiment station at Griffin, that enriched the story and captured the setting. It's not just somewhere in the south, but in middle Georgia which has its own unique historical and cultural relevance.

I enjoyed the characters, particularly the brothers. I wanted to slap Mama sometimes, though I tried desperately to have empathy for her. She did not have an easy life. I could have possibly forgiven her for her first indiscretion, but if that is really the lifestyle she wanted, why didn't she leave the boys with her sister and brother-in-law? She irked me, especially as the unnamed narrator had to take on more and more of the role of adult. I felt sorry for Little Carl and him.

This is much more of a character-driven book than plot oriented. The story really is about human nature rather than the day-to-day details of the family's life. So while the happenings in the story were at times interesting glimpses into 1912 Georgia, it was not the main draw of the book. It is really the attitudes, thoughts, and actions of the characters that are at the forefront of the story.

Since I stated at the beginning that I don't usually read Gothic novels because of the macabre and horrific elements, I will say those elements don't really come into play here. Evil is Always Human tends more towards the "transgressive thoughts, desires, and impulses" and "overall angst-ridden alienation" characteristics of Southern Gothic literature.

If you are looking for a well-written book in this genre, then I highly recommend picking up Evil is Always Human.

Here's another little teaser.

"You ought to drag that mattress to the trash pile and burn it," Mama said, all the time looking at the baby and not at us. "It won't burn easy nor quick. You need to soak it good with kerosene before you light it. It needs to be burned good before anybody sees it or knows your daddy is gone." pg. 56

Buy Evil is Always Human at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour
Linked to Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader and Friday56 at Freda's Voice.

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5 comments:

  1. I loved the excerpts...and I am now intrigued. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “TELL ME LIES”

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  2. Interesting excerpts but the dialect would get old fast for me. This week I have a historical mystery - A Moment in Crime by Amanda Allen. Happy reading!

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  3. Sounds fascinating!!! Happy weekend!

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  4. I agree that dialect can be scary to read. Glad this one works for you.

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  5. I haven't tried this author but I might have to some time soon.

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