by Jane Hamilton
I don't know why but when I kept seeing The Book of Ruth on shelves I thought it was about Ruth from the bible, some historical fiction or retelling in a modern setting. I couldn't have been more wrong! It's about a girl from a poor family that I can only describe as "white trash" (sorry if the term offends!). She's rather naive. She grows up and has a kid and never seems to change her situation or better herself much. If you've ever wondered why people continue to live in squalor, with others who treat them miserably, read this book. Even though Ruth's value system and interests were totally different from my own, the author did such a good job of portraying Ruth with frankness and honesty that I found myself thinking: well, I can see how she thinks/feels that way. The context of the story is so outside my experience I kept asking my husband "what does this mean" and "what does this refer to?" until he said "what are you reading?!" This story is brutal, hilarious and strange. I liked it just because it was so different and so realistic in a gritty mundane sort of way.
Rating: 4/5 ........ 328 pages, 1988