Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Day of Small Things-Vicki Lane

The Day of Small Things
Vicki Lane
Dell, Sep 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780385342636

In Dark Holler Appalachia in 1922, Miz Fronie is in her third day of labor whens she gives birth. With an acrimonious heart and a withered soul, she names her latest offspring Least and informs everyone that this child is mentally incompetent. Neglected for the most part by family especially her mom when Fronie is not abusive and ignored by neighbors, Least turns to the land for solace and forms an affinity that enables her to see what others ignore. However, she has one mentor, her beloved arthritic stricken Grandma Beck who teaches Least to be the most with her tales of their Cherokee ancestry and natural healing.

In the late 1930s Grandma Beck dies, leaving Least with sadness for her loss but happiness that her beloved relative will feel no more pain. She also must choose whether to marry a suitor who is a devout Christian; if she says yes she will give up her magical connection to the spirits that haunt Dark Holler. Finally in the sunset of her life, Least will have to stand up one last time to save a child and subsequently her world.

This is an enjoyable epic saga told in what reads like three somewhat interconnected novellas tied together by the land and by the protagonist; as The Least (1922-1938); Redbird Ray (1938) and Miss Birdie (May 2007) provide the audience with an engaging tale. Although the best entry is the profound first one as readers will observe how the child psychologically adapts to neglect from all but her beloved grandma Beck, the trio combines into a deep look at Appalachia through the eyes of the allegedly Least one.

Harriet Klausner

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