By Amy Greene
Alfred A. Knopf
BLOODROOT is the story of four generations living in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee during the twentieth century.
The story begins with Byrdie Lamb who is challenged by raising a wild daughter, Clio who enjoys testing limits. Frustration is what she feels when Clio at the age of seventeen marries. Seeming to always be living just a step above the survival level, Clio and her husband are killed in an accident leaving their child, Myra with Byrdie. Myra inherits some of her mother’s traits but is different while still worrying Byrdie.
When you feel that you have failed as a parent and you get another chance, you do things differently for the next one and that was Byrdie’s plan, to raise Myra based on the mistakes with Clio. However, life doesn’t always agree with our plans and when Myra meets John Odom, The attraction between the two is obvious and seems like fate. What Myra chooses to ignore is his philandering, abusive behavior, and alcoholism.
Much of the novel centers on Myra’s twins, John and Laura. Myra raises her small children in isolation and literally hides them from their father and the authorities. As the two grow and begin to discover their natural gifts and abilities, they also search for relationships that frequently do not meet their needs.
At the beginning, the story seems disjointed and tends to wander. The story is told from multiple points-of-view which can be a bit confusing at first. However, when the story begins to connect, that is the strength of BLOODROOT. The connections of their lives and their stories is what makes this novel exquisite. You can feel the challenges, failures, and successes as if you were actually part of their lives.
BLOODROOT is Amy Greene’s debut novel. She bases her book on the life she has witnessed in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Her next novel will be LONG MAN also from Knopf.
Teri Davis April 5, 2010