After reading THE BOTTOMS by Joe R. Lansdale, I had a sneaking suspicion he was using his stories to break my heart and after just finishing EDGE OF DARK WATER, this suspicion has been confirmed. Joe R. Lansdale is indeed trying to break my heart.
He’s coming after my soul.
He’s weaseling into my life and stealing retail space on my bookshelf.
The thing is, I have fully surrendered. I’m allowing it. Game on. Take everything.
EDGE OF DARK WATER is the story of some kids growing up as best they can in rural Texas. The main character, Sue Ellen and her best friend Terry are out fishing with her father and uncle one day when they make a startling discovery that will change the direction of all their lives.
Sue Ellen and Terry immediately tell their friend Jinx and the three of them decide they need to get out of their small town before they end up beat down and used up just like everyone else around them. Unfortunately, because of what they know and what they’ve seen--they will be followed by dangerous people on their perilous journey to California.
I added three new child protagonists to my reader’s heart. It’s getting crowded in here what with all the kids King has written, the kids from Robert McCammon’s books, all the kids from Summer of Night by Dan Simmons, the child narrator from I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, the family from BETTY by Tiffany McDaniel and the list goes on, and on, and on.
The quickest way to get me to fall in love is to give me some sassy-mouthed, take-no-shit, child protagonists in some kind of danger. My mom’s heart can’t help but fully invest in their story.
EDGE OF DARK WATER is no exception. This is coming of age at its finest. It doesn’t get better than this-sharing space with Lansdale’s THE BOTTOMS, King’s IT, and McCammon’s BOY’S LIFE. Comparisons to HUCKLEBERRY FINN and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD are not far off; there are strong themes of poverty, classism, racism, and that sad truth of how some children are just unwanted burdens or collateral damage.
Infused into the storyline are laugh-out-loud moments that I have come to expect from Lansdale. The characters are colorful, memorable, and full of life - the things that come out of their mouths sometimes are hysterical.
In contrast, one of the characters, Skunk, is one of the scariest motherfuckers I have ever had the displeasure of reading about. My heart raced every time he made an appearance.
I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. It made my heart sing with love for these children, fall down into my stomach with fear, and then come to a state of full satisfaction at the end. Lansdale is just the goddamn best.
That being said, stay tuned for some important news about a read along I'm hosting in partnership with Tachyon Publications.
Keep an eye on this space as all the news regarding this read along will happen here on this blog.