I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the premise on which it was written. The author admits it was written and based on a family member that disappeared. She took bits and pieces of the story she knew and mixed them with factual historical details to create a moving, heartbreaking story. This is something I have personally always wanted to do. In the early 1930’s, my great grandmother, Opal Raider Fulks walked out of her home and never came back. She left behind my very young grandmother, her husband, and her two other daughters. We have very, very little information as to where or why she disappeared. In many of my dreams, especially lately, I see her…in fact I AM her…and wonder if the scenes I dream actually occurred. I have considered writing a novel based on what we know and what I’ve seen in my dreams. When I saw the description of The Buried Book, I knew I had to read it. In fact, I reached out to the author on Goodreads, and she was kind enough to answer my question.
The novel takes place in rural Michigan and begins with a young boy being left by his mother. She takes him to his aunt and uncle’s farm and disappears for a few years. The remainder of the story is of Jasper, the young boy, attempting to find where she went, and if she is even alive. While his father makes the occasional appearance, it only adds to the heartbreak and abject sadness of the entire situation. The only reason I wasn’t awestruck by this novel was that there were parts that were a bit fantastic. A tornado, a sprint alone through Detroit, a lone bus ride, a house fire and a barn fire….at every turn there was something dramatic happening to Jasper, and these made it seem just a little too unbelievable. Otherwise, you could read this book and believe this was a true history of D.M. Pulley’s ancestors.
The novel covers topics of poverty, poor working conditions, misogyny, rape and sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, murder, farm life and the mistreatment of Native Americans. Without being overly descriptive about these subjects, the author has created a fairly believable tale of what may have happened to her family member, and how the events of her teenage years affected family members for decades afterwards.
Thank you NetGalley, and always, Lake Union, for providing this novel in exchange for my review. Keep up the fantastic prints.