Thursday 24 September 2015

Book Review of Beyond The Pale by C. Michelle McCarty

Book Title: Beyond The Pale
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 203
Author: C. Michelle McCarty
Date Published: 8 August 2015


At odds with her mother long before her father's fatal automobile accident left them blaming each other, pregnant teen Abbie barely flinches when her mother hands her a fistful of cash to leave town forever. From small town, Georgia mansion to Maryland mobile home, Abbie embraces unusual trailer park people who help keep her mind off an old locker left by her dad yet confiscated by her mother. When her mother dies in 2000, will guarded secrets from her past elate or devastate Abbie and others?


Beyond the PaleBeyond the Pale by C Michelle McCarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic tale. I loved it!

Abbie is a wonderful character. At first, Abbie’s abrasive behaviour rubbed me the wrong way and I didn't like her very much. However, as the story unfolded and I began to understand that she used verbal slights as a way of protecting herself – a thorny disposition to hide her true self. After being kicked out by her mother at seventeen, a pregnant Abbie finds herself living in a trailer park. When her mother dies fifteen years later, Abbie finds herself facing memories she would rather forget, but desperate to claim the locker her father left for her before his death.

Having previously read 'The Jewel Box', when I heard that this book was being released, I quickly bought a copy. I started the book and didn't put it down until I had finished it. I found myself quickly caught up in the story and intrigued with the various characters introduced. Though I didn't care for Julienne (she's a stuck up, money grubbing piece of work in my opinion), I fell in love with most of the other characters. I think my favourite, outside of Violet, Geoff and Bryan, is Kevin. He is Violet's son, who has slight brain damage and, though he's in his twenties, has the mental capacity of a thirteen year old. He has a unique ability to make me laugh with his enthusiasm and joy of life.

This is a very touching story of loss, sadness, joy and happiness. Although I have never lived in a trailer park, the sense of community within the pages of this book made me feel very envious. Violet is the matriarch and glue which holds it all together. I must admit that I have always had a close relationship with both my parents, so reading about Abbie's lack of one with her mother made me feel quite sad. But, she finds a mother figure in Violet and it made me glad. As you can tell, this book took me on a roller coaster ride of emotion from beginning to end. There is a lot of sarcasm and wit from not only Abbie, but from Geoff too. Their verbal sparing made it difficult to understand if they hated each other or not, but their mutual respect shone through near the end. There are some twists and turns that kept me wondering, but there is one huge surprise that had me shedding tears. I'm not saying whether they were tears of joy or sadness, because you'll just have to read the book for yourself to find out. I must admit that I did a little fist pump when a character got their comeuppance and is outed. I reached the end of the story and had a bittersweet reaction. I was sad that the story had ended, but happy that all issues had been resolved.

C. Michelle McCarty is an author with a talent for writing a captivating story. I love her descriptive writing style, which brought the characters to life. Though it is not as fast paced as other books I have read, the pacing makes it easier to get to know the characters better. The story flows wonderfully from scene to scene. I look forward to reading more of this author's books in the future.

I highly recommend this book if you love contemporary fiction. - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews


About The Author:

C. Michelle McCarty is a native Texan born with a love of writing, but forced to take jobs that actually paid for necessities along the way. Having done everything from owning her own hair salon and employment agency to writing ad copy, and editing for an online newspaper, Michelle retired in 2012 to settle into writing full time.

Socially awkward, Michelle daydreams about imaginary places filled with ordinary and extraordinary characters who offer intimate details of their humorous, eccentric, romantic, dramatic, and sometimes mundane lives. She writes to learn moral lessons by placing characters in a variety of situations, which in turn offers soul searching and sometimes personal resolutions. Michelle believes flawed characters reveal that everyone, no matter how imperfect or seemingly insignificant, offers something special in pretend worlds as well as in real life.

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