Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

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5 Stars

“Men die all the time in fights or pipeline explosions or gas leaks. They fall from cooling towers or try to beat the train or get drunk and decide to clean their guns. Women are killed when they get cancer or marry badly or take rides with strange men.”
Boy was I afraid to read this one. It had a big ol’ following on the ‘Gram around release time and if you haven’t heard me mention it a time or twelve, that doesn’t necessarily bode well for your ol’ gal pal Kelly. Now before anyone gets their panties in a twist thinking that I’m bashing Insta please let it be noted that it and my newfound love for the TikToks are pretty much what has gotten my family through this ‘Rona without suffering a bludgeoning from my trusty Maglite. The difference between Bookstagram and Goodreads is over there I’m all about the pretty pictures, but may not actually share any of the same tastes with the people I follow. I’ve been a member here for what feels like eternity and have formed a trust circle of fellow curmudgeons, social deviants and general weirdos who pretty much are of one mind when it comes to books. This review is for those people. Don’t be askeered like me and steer clear of this. If you want atmosphere and setting, this is for you. If you want gritty, this is for you. If you want strong female narrators, this is for you.

Set at the beginning of the oil boom in the mid-70s, Odessa, Texas is a place that is changing. Ranches are drying up thanks to drought, but a new crop is on the rise – oil. Valentine jumps off with one of the newly arrived roughnecks taking a local girl out on a date. That girl winds up on a farmhouse porch beaten and bloodied. The story goes from there until the trial date and is told through different connected narratives voiced by various women who make up the town’s population regarding their own personal lots in life with just a touch of some Scout and Boo Radley from To Kill A Mockingbird to really send it over the edge into 5 Star territory. I can’t even words on this review due to my reaction being so opposite of what I went in anticipating. This book punched me right in the gut and that’s a pretty effing hard thing to do at this point.

Highly recommended and will most certainly go down as one of the best things I read in 2020.

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