Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions about Small-Town America – edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter

Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions about Small-Town America – edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter, Candlewick Press, 9781536212105

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or starred review) 3

Genre: Realistic Fiction

What did you like about the book? This book explores rural America through multiple author’s writing styles- narrative, graphic, prose, among others. The stories were enjoyable, many had vivid setting details that planted you right in the middle of their home, or town. Characters spanned race, sexual orientation, language, and geographic location. The stories were scattered in states across the country.

Many negative threads flowed through various stories: ignorance, poverty, racial and economic disparity. However, there were positives: community, freedom to explore your surroundings, family, and love. These stories show; geographically, sociologically, psychologically, and economically that small towns, big cities, and everything in between will have these threads of negativity and positivity. Embrace the positives, and do everything you can to stand up to the negatives.

Anything you didn’t like about it? It was hard, for me, to read with so many different writing styles. However, to some readers this style of book may be enjoyable. I think it all depends on the reader.

To whom would you recommend this book?  I think anyone who enjoys short stories, will enjoy this book. While it is very topical, it doesn’t need to be read with an academic eye, but can be enjoyed just for the stories as is.

Who should buy this book? Middle and high schools. Public libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Fiction/short story

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Lindsey Hughes, Marstons Mills Public Library, Marstons Mills, MA

Date of review: 5/11/2021

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