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Back Roads Paperback – June 1, 2004
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Praise for Back Roads
An Oprah’s Book Club Pick
A Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club
“An intense story of family, frailty and dysfunction, set in the coal-mining towns of western Pennsylvania...captivatingly told.”—Chicago Tribune
“Tense...involving...deftly captures the voice of a teenage boy who's in trouble.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A page-turner...gritty, funny, sexy.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Poignant...achingly beautiful prose...remarkable.”—San Diego Union
“Nearly impossible to put down.”—The Denver Post
“Outrageously unconventional...a very funny book.”—The Baltimore Sun
“Do not miss this one.”—Mademoiselle
About the Author
Tawni O’Dell is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including Back Roads, which was an Oprah’s Book Club pick, a Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection, and is now a major motion picture. She is also a contributor to several anthologies, including Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female. Her works have been published in more than forty countries.
Top customer reviews
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I can't stop thinking about the story, or the author. She actually grew up in Indiana PA, where this novel is based. As a writer who grew up in a gritty place, I've wondered how to write about the amazing stories I accumulated there. O'Dell has done it, and she's writing another one. I respect her for that.
I gave Back Roads 4 stars because of VERY strong 3-dimensional characters, dramatic tension and suspense, a hero I could root for - although anti-hero might be the better term - and a satisfying conclusion. I respected the way the author was able to show Harley, the main character, falling apart under the strain. His internal dialogue revealed such incredibly violent tendencies (which he never acted out - another major victory for this pathetically heroic young man), and those tendencies were backstory! He didn't get that way from the inciting incident. He and his sisters grew up in this situation, and they all reacted to it in different ways.
I always like to hunt for themes in a story I enjoy, and in this one I saw the theme of responsibility accepted and shirked. Too much or too little taken on, and the results of that decision. Another theme was the question of Stockholm Syndrome - did Harley have it or not? Did his mom? Who was the tormentor, and who the tormented, in Callie's marriage?
All in all, an amazing book. I highly recommend it.