Aug 10, 2018

Plumbelly

by Gary S. Maynard

A group of kids, a few friends on a South Sea Island. Each in their own way struggling against oppression, neglect, abuse. Parents with heavy hands, unseeing attitudes, teachers who take advantage. They're white kids- resented by the natives. The few of them stick together, and when events suddenly pitch rapidly south, they take what seems like the only option: running away on a small, abandoned sailing vessel- claimed as salvage. The story moves quickly, but is packed with so much. First love. Loyalty between siblings, between friends. I was taken aback at the amount of violence, and how casually some of the characters shrugged it off- but then, they'd seen a lot. Fair warning: quite a few people die. Some by accident, some not. The kids take their lives into their own hands, rocking on the sea. I really liked their voices (in spite of the profanity) and the details of life at sea, work at sailing, were explained just enough for me to get a picture, without overburdening the reader with tons of explanation. Quite a few turns took me by surprise. I was reminded a lot of The Outsiders. And of other books set on sailing ships, that I've enjoyed. Plumbelly is from a small publisher, it could have used more careful editing- a few typos jumped out at me, but the story and characterization are strong enough I wasn't distracted by it. The people felt vividly real, the situations hard to face, the surroundings beautiful and harsh by turns- I loved the descriptions. It's the kind of book you can't put down, and you think about for a long time afterwards. In spite of its brevity there's a lot going on in there. I'd certainly read more by this writer.

I received a copy of this book from the author.

Rating: 4/5          217 pages, 2018

2 comments:

Thistle said...

Huh that was just published this year. By the cover, it seemed older, but I guess that's the intent.

Going to add it to my To Read list, thanks!

Jeane said...

Yeah, I really like the woodcut style of the cover illustration.