Teenager Harley Altmyer's mother is in prison for murdering his father. What with work, three sisters to care for and a lousy sex life, things surely can't get much worse, or can they? He is about to find out when he begins an affair with a married woman.Teenager Harley Altmyer's mother is in prison for murdering his father. What with work, three sisters to care for and a lousy sex life, things surely can't get much worse, or can they? He is about to find out when he begins an affair with a married woman.Read Less
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Back Roads flirts with a host of Appalachian cliché?s. Incest, abuse, molestation, alcoholism and infidelity sounds like a recipe of disaster for a first time novelist. Somehow, though, Ms. O?Dell pulls it off.
Fueled by anger and lust, Back Roads reads like a redneck Streetcar Named Desire barreling full bore for a brick wall. The protagonist, Harley Altmyer is a nineteen year old boy who finds himself the head of household of a troubled and destitute family. He is, by turns, funny, tragic, flawed and immensely sympathetic. The author does a deft job of slowly doling out the twists and sordid details and, though she dances a little too close to the cliché?s sometimes, the strength of her straight-ahead prose and eye for detail carries the story.
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