Review: Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
Lacey's life hasn't been the same since her Aunt Linda left. Now it's just Lacey and her increasingly unstable mother struggling to survive in their small hometown. Yet, the lonely 13-year-old clings to hope as her mother's mad wanderings become less frequent and she even convinces her to take a job at the local Winn-Dixie. Unfortunately, Lacey's fragile security is about to be ripped into shreds.
Miles from Ordinary is an unusual novel that looks unflinchingly at the gritty side of life. Carol Lynch Williams' fragmented narrative style will suck readers into this unsettling and disconcerting world. Lacey is a heartbreakingly sympathetic character, burdened with trials that far exceed her years. She is clearly damaged, trying to stay strong for a mother who is long gone.
Like Lacey's own struggles, her mother's downward spiral is portrayed vividly and realistically, and the final pages are horrifically gripping. Yet, it is hard to see the method in the madness. Though Miles from Ordinary will get inside readers' heads, the deeper meaning that drives the tragedy is unclear because the focus is too narrow to illuminate the big picture. The story is forceful and draws the reader forward to see how the unfathomably tragic childhood will end, but I felt the narrative arc needed to be fleshed out in order to pack a lasting punch.
Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this novel from the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way.