Sunday, July 24, 2016

Book Review: Lions

by Bonnie Nadzam

**I received a free digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

What a great author! I had a friend recommend Lamb, and I forgot all about it until he saw I was reading Lions. Now I have to read Lamb!

I want to paint an impression of what I felt reading this. It's a story about family, friends, a dying town on the high plains of Colorado. It's an area that is still a rough place to live, especially when nearly everyone has left the town due to persistent drought and what sounds like bad soil.

The town really does love it's stories, it's something that helps them get through the rough times. A mysterious stranger comes to town and John Walker takes him in. Him and his wife feed the man and his dog. Give him fresh clothing, money (that they really don't have much of themselves) and send him on his way. That's when I was hooked. That old fashioned kindness that beats back the constant fear we live with today.

John and his son Gordon are metal workers, their ancestors before them. The Walkers were never farmers or hunters, which made this an odd town to settle into. The town was built on promises, promises that never came to anything. And the people that are left, are either ready to leave or determined to stay.

For someone who seems to be an indie author, at least she's fairly outside of the mainstream, I thought the writing was fantastic. This story was so finely woven, that even though there was much sadness and anger, there was also comfort. The town is literally dying around them, and I can only imagine what that's like, but we've all seen those towns. Where you can't imagine anyone living there. And the more remote you get, the more often you see this. The exodus from farming communities to large cities is still happening.

She explains the why, the real why, alongside the stories. The droughts, the falling prices on produce. How you make more money renting out water or mineral rights than from farming. And if you are doing that, why remain on the farm? How the towns don't have any money, thus there's no maintenance happening. As far as I could tell there wasn't even anyone is a position of power over Lions, other than the police chief...and he seemed to be working alone. They took care of themselves.

You can understand why Leigh (Gordon's childhood sweetheart) was dead set on leaving. I finished this about an hour ago before writing this, and I just sat and stared...I wanted to cry. This book really touched me. It's not happy, it's not romantic, but it is beautiful.

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