Author: Robert Eggleton
Title: Rarity From The Hollow
Genre: Fiction, Religious and Inspirational, Science Fiction and Fantasy,
Synopsis: 'Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother has lost her teeth, and her best friend is killed by her own father. Life in The Hollow in West Virginia isn't great. But Lacy Dawn has one advantage-she's been befrended by a semi-organic semi-robot (DotCom, alias Buddy) who works with her to 'cure' her parents. Buddy wants something in exchange, though. It's up to Lacy Dawn to save the universe. Imagine wizard of oz and hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy smashed together and taking place in a hollow in the hills of west Virginia. Look in on a dysfunctional family, poverty, child abuse, and the thought processes of a young girl turning the corner from childhood to adolescence, then put them all together in a surreal setting that looks at our society from a distinctly different viewpoint. You’ll enjoy the ride with lacy dawn and friends and family, but don’t expect the ride to be without bumps and enough food for thought to last you a long time
Review: Rarity from the Hollow is unlike any book I have come across before. If one were to put it into a genre it would probably be classed as Science Fiction but that is too simple. There is a lot of social commentary in the book, provided through the way Lacy Dawn's family live. Her father is a veteran with PTSD and her mother is (at first) submissive, walking on eggshells because of her husband's condition, careful not to provoke his rages, and does not have enough social capacity to mother her daughter like she needs to. Consequently, Lacy Dawn is much more complex - and more messed up - than others of her age. Thanks to the 'plug in' sessions with her android boyfriend, who seems to want to download all of human knowledge into her brain, she acts as kind of a psychotherapist to the kids at school, all of whom seem far too aware for their age what is wrong with them and why. One of her best friends we soon find out to be a ghost, and Lacy Dawn regularly talks with the trees near her house who try to help her navigate this tricky stage of life. All Lacy Dawn wants to do is to save her family and make it into sixth grade.
That's just the stuff on earth. When DotCom (the android boyfriend) takes Lacy Dawn and her father to Shptiludrp, they find out that part of Lacy Dawn's mission to save the universe involves a huge amount of shopping, by taking things to sell on earth, in order to save earth from exploitation of its minerals and other precious resources. Lacy Dawn gets into tough negotiations with the Manager of the Mall on Shptiludrp, in order to protect earth, before finding out the real danger to Earth, and consequently, the universe (spoiler alert....................a mammoth infestation of roaches).
This book won't be for everyone. It certainly isn't easy reading, but it is very interesting, and a lot of what happens that seems pretty painful and messed up is authentic and tugs on the heartstrings, its authenticity no doubt due to the author's social work background. Eggleton certainly has a flair for the complex and weaving in many issues without a plot overload. It works because he gets the characters right.in summary, if you're up for a challenging read, and are prepared to face some hard questions and - maybe like me - tough it out through some bits, then give it a try. It'll certainly be like nothing you've tried before.
About the author: Robert Eggleton was born in 1951 to impoverished West Virginian parents. His mother was a victim of domestic violence and his father was alcoholic, traumatized by WWII before PTSD was treatable. He grew up fast by supporting his family with odd jobs until his first real job at age 12 in a pharmacy. In the '70s, the Vietnam War Protests drew him into a counter culture that would have prevented him from attending WV State College, had it not been for the military draft that targeted low-income and minority youth. Instead, he graduated with a degree in Social Work in 1973 and a Masters in 1977. For the next thirty-five years, he has been employed as an advocate for veterans, homeless youth, institutionalized juveniles, the unemployed, and, especially for abused/neglected children. He was the primary author of hundreds of investigative reports published by the WV Supreme Court from 1985 to 1997. He created models of children's social services accepted and distributed by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of Social Workers, and private nonprofit agencies. In 2006, Mr. Eggleton turned to fiction, in part, as a means of raising funds to prevent child abuse. His first novel was preceded by three satirical fantasies published in magazines. Lacy Dawn, the protagonist of his adventures, is Mr. Eggleton's real life heroine
Edition: kindle and paperback
Star rating: 5 out of 5 stars