Wednesday, June 9, 2010

THE COAL TATTOO by Silas House

There are a lot of books out there about sisters who are opposites in personality. (In Her Shoes comes to mind.) In other words, this struck me as sort of a tired premise. Easter is the older sister to whom maturity came early with the responsibility for raising her vivacious younger sibling, Anneth. There's also an older brother, Gabe, who doesn't really figure into the story at all. The action takes place in a coal mining town in Kentucky. Easter was a good student and had college aspirations until she became a surrogate parent, although, frankly, her grammar indicates that English was not her best subject. Anneth predictably marries and abandons a couple of husbands before finding true love with a younger man on his way to Vietnam. What annoyed me the most was how Easter continues to cling to Anneth, even after Anneth betrays her time and again. Somehow Anneth never really has to suffer the consequences of her selfishness and unreliability. Easter, on the other hand, sinks into an emotional abyss after her baby is stillborn. I suppose, though, that Easter's character is such that she has to forgive in order to recover and survive.

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