I admit I have only read one other of Haven Kimmel's books, THE SOLACE OF LEAVING EARLY, and I enjoyed that and thought it was well written with believable characters. Though THE USED WORLD has the same setting (apparently a fictionalized Muncie, Indiana and its surroundings) and Church of the Brethren minister Amos (and very peripherally his wife Langston) who are major characters in "SOLACE" also appear in this effort the books are quite different.
This book is filled with melodramatic, unbelievable plot lines, some borrowed from other sources, and characters who are either misunderstood, mistreated saints or the most awful caricatures of rural Midwesterners. In fact Kimmel writes with such utter contempt for those who shop at WalMart, eat at McDonalds and attend large fundamentalist churches that it was often difficult for me to continue reading. I will believe Kimmel has met and even known people from rural Indiana who commit these just mentioned transgressions but she seems to be unable to convey any empathy for or write about such individuals with any genuineness or respect for them as fellow humans.
Some portions of the book are well written enough but other segments are awkward and unclear and a little editing and rewriting would have been beneficial. A pet peeve of mine is how invisible rural working class Americans are in today's mass media. I do appreciate Ms Kimmel setting her book(s) among the ordinary folks of rural Indiana but I am disappointed by her inability to see beyond the usual stereotypes of residents of such areas at least in this novel.
18 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?