Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: Rarity from the Hollow

Rarity from the Hollow
Published By: Dog Horn
Publication Date: December 2016
ebook - 284 pages
Source: Provided by Author
Science Fiction

Eleven year-old Lacy Dawn lives in rural West Virginia with her abusive, PTSD-suffering father and her under-educated, defeated mother. After the sexual abuse and murder of her best friend, Lacy continues to play with her friend’s ghost. Lacy finds refuge in her friendship with DotCom, the robot who has been sent to cultivate a relationship with her and convince her to embark on a quest to save the universe. 

 Reading back over what I just wrote, I have to say that Rarity from the Hollow is even stranger than it sounds. Part of that strangeness is in the way the book is written. Eggleton divided the story into three nearly discrete sections which don’t seem to rely on each other very much. In the tragic first third of the book, the reader learns of the conditions in which Lacy Dawn is living. (This is the part with the physical and sexual abuse.) The second part of Rarity from the Hollow is where the reader meets DotCom, Lacy’s robot friend, and he helps “fix” her parents. Finally, Lacy accepts the quest to save the universe from destruction. The three act structure is pretty typical, but in Rarity from the Hollow they almost feel like separate stories. Lacy carries almost no baggage from the events of the first part of the book, and her parents, once cured, still don’t really act like parents. I felt little continuity through the story except for a persistent feeling of surreality. 

That nightmarish quality comes from Eggleton’s insertion of characters’ thoughts throughout the text. Although Rarity from the Hollow is told in limited third-person point of view, the readers also hear what various characters are thinking. It effectively forces the reader into the hyper- vigilance Lacy Dawn must live with in the first part of the novel, but wrenching the reader between points of view is unsettling and prevents the reader from feeling anchored within the story. Although the sexual and violent content of the Rarity from the Hollow is not particularly graphic, it is quite disturbing because of the feeling of menace evoked by various characters’ thoughts punctuating the narrative without warning. 

 Lacy Dawn has become one of my favorite fictional people. Although she is growing up in one of the worst situations I can think of, she remains unbroken by the things that happen to her. Lacy’s intelligence and inner strength are magnets both enabling her to find a way out of her dire situation and drawing the reader to her. To me, Lacy herself is the rarity from the hollow. 

In the end, I was left with mixed feelings about Rarity from the Hollow. The bizarre nature of Lacy’s quest and how she completes it reminded me a little of Kurt Vonnegut, but the tragedies of child abuse, alcohol addiction, PTSD and drug abuse don’t mix very well with the satire in the second half of the book.

Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn't great. But Lacy has one advantage -- she's been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It's up to her to save the Universe.

Will Lacy Dawn's predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children's story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.” 
Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest 

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.” 
    Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. "…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy." -- Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” --Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author 

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” -- The Baryon Review

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