I received an advanced copy of this book for review through Netgalley.
My reviews can also be found on my blog.
I went into this expecting a light read. It took some adjusting before I could get into the story, but once I did it was wonderful.
Ruth is so young and deals with so much in her life - and her mother doesn't make things any easier. Throughout the story she was awful and manipulative, and I couldn't bring myself to like her. I think this is why it took longer for me to grow attached to the story.
The side characters were the best - a cross-dressing waitress called "Peter Pam," a chatty neighbor with four kids who lived next to her old teacher and watched her through binoculars, and so many more. They were original and lovable, and I found myself loving it in Fat River just as much as Ruth did.
The excerpt from one of Ruth's papers at the end talks about little girls faced with violence, and them being blamed when they grow up to be imperfect mothers. This is something I just couldn't get over, because I think Ruth's mother was worse than this implies. She was not "less than perfect." She was childish and I don't think it can be excused that she didn't act like a mother - Ruth did.
I liked the message. I liked the mother-daughter bond, and that they stuck together even when things weren't perfect. The story was real and honest, and Ruth's voice was great to read. I just had real problems with Ruth's mother and the way she was written into the book. I kept waiting for her to turn around, to rise above the way she grew up, but that never happened - and then it was excused, like she couldn't have done better. I'm just glad Ruth seems headed in a better direction.