Friday, April 22, 2016

New Review! Low by Mary Elizabeth, 4 Cranky Stars

This is actually a difficult review to write. Mary Elizabeth is such a powerful writer. Her books are raw and real. Her turns of phrase spectacular. True Love's Way was one of my top picks of 2015 and I'll buy anything she ever writes.

Low centers around Lowen Seely: a boy born on the wrong side of the tracks and intergenerational criminality and poverty. His father is in prison. Low takes care of his mother and younger sister, giving up any slim opportunity for advancement to keep their heads above financial water. He's in love with Posey, a middle-class girl with neglectful parents.

After a shoplifting attempt gone wrong, Low is sent to prison. Inside, hope is kept alive by the girl who waits for him, Posey. 

Inside, Low's further descent into a life of criminality is almost assured.

On release, Low and Posey struggle. They struggle to remain on the path of straight and narrow. They struggle to survive in a world where Low's record as a felon chips away their already limited options.

As the defeats mount up, they turn to the road that is open to them. They become a modern day Bonnie and Clyde.

This story is pretty realistic and heartbreaking. But, not necessarily compelling. It's like reading a slow descent. I think it's because I could work out that there was only ever going to be one outcome and so I read the work with an air of defeat.

In saying that, Mary Elizabeth's writing and ability to portray Low's intentions, motivations, and moral dilemma of his actions without sentimentality makes this a must read.

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