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Back Roads Paperback – June 1, 2004
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"The Angels" Share" by J.R. Ward
Best-selling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation. Learn more | See related books
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But Harley still has a conscience--barely. He doesn't strike his sisters; he's been trying to protect them. The oldest is sassy Amber, 16, who's having sex on the living-room couch with townies who abuse her; next is frighteningly stoic 12-year-old Misty, with eyes "a glazed brown like a medicine bottle"; the youngest is adorable Jody, who at 6 pens to-do lists with items such as "PRAY FOR DADDYS SOWL." Overburdened with the practicalities of life, and the ever-mounting losses, Harley has started seeing his own words floating in the air in front of his face. "CLOSURE. TRUTH. MOST GUYS."
This first novel opens well. O'Dell does an impeccable job of making Harley both brutal and forgivable. Here, for instance, he retreats to his basement room: "I lay there until dawn, thinking about Dad, and feeling the same useless frustration I had felt the first time I had seen him piss on a sparkling white drift of pure new snow."
But that delicacy is soon lost, and Back Roads risks becoming an overabundant affair, pitched high, with a roller-coaster trajectory. Harley's anger metamorphoses into an almost bloodthirsty lust for his sexy, middle-aged neighbor, which stirs up myriad forbidden family secrets. Misty, it turns out, has been hiding something. Amber revolts. And even Jody's scribbles turn malevolent. While the writing is good throughout, the tension and plotting assume an unpleasant adolescent posture--bodice-ripping passion and mordant gloom combined. Nonetheless, O'Dell's assured and touching portrait of her protagonist emerges unscathed. You will likely remember luckless, fated Harley Altmyer long after his tsunamic tale has receded. And no matter what the judge decides, you will understand why this impoverished, angry young man was probably the most innocent one of all. --Jean Lenihan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Harley's father is dead, and his mother is in prison for the murder, so he is left to raise his three younger sisters. Working two jobs, and looking for love in all the wrong places, his story of abuse, incest, and the strange relationships between siblings will unfold to answer the question...can he be the savior his family needs?
"Back Roads" is a fast-paced novel dealing with some disturbing issues. At times hilarious and heartbreaking, while also being gritty and violent, first time author, Tawni O'Dell, handles herself like a seasoned pro; dishing out the heavy subject matter, and at the same time creating a hero in Harley.
This book was an Oprah pick, but don't read it for that reason, read it because it is a well written, well executed story that grabs the reader and doesn't let go. This may not be a book for everyone, but any reader looking for intense fiction should pick it up.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this in one day because I couldn't put it down. I probably will never reread it since I know how it ends, but I certainly will not forget it.Published 25 days ago by Joeysmom
Sad story but compelling about child abuse and incest in a sad world of poverty. It sure makes you grateful for your own life. Very difficult to put down.Published 2 months ago by Vee
This was an amazing read by an amazing Author. Leaves you wanting more!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book was excellent!! I simply could not put it down and finished it in less than a day. It was different from pretty much anything I've ever read before. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Cindy Manfra
The author has an excellent writing style, descript without being pretentiously verbose. Reading some of the other reviews and seeing other interpretations of this story made me... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Dez Noir
Good story and fine cast of authentic characters. An enjoyable read. I've liked her other books as well.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is really dark. It is well written and I really liked the wild plot twists. It reminds me a lot of Gillian Flynn's book, Dark Places which I guess was written many years... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Shari Rood