Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

For anyone who wondered what Allison would do after Bastard Out of Carolina‘a best seller and a literary tour de force‘here's the answer. In this second novel, rock'n'roller Delia returns to her roots and the family she abandoned. A BOMC and QPBC featured alternate; with a reading group guide (ISBN 0-525-94434-6). (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Allison's debut novel, Bastard out of Carolina (1992), was a blazing success, and her second, a mama-bear of a book that will send readers deep down into another realm, far from everyday consciousness, is sure to excite the same degree of passion. A premier storyteller working in the rich, family-focused, and secret-filled tradition of southern literature, Allison begins this long, dramatic novel with an arresting short sentence, "Death changes everything," and by the time she wraps up her saga of Delia Byrd and her three daughters, she has charted the course of many births, deaths, and rebirths, both physical and spiritual. Delia's legacy is one of abandonment and violence, a love-poor background that leads her to marry a man who beats her so severely she has to flee for her life, leaving her two baby girls behind. This brands her as a great sinner in the beady eyes of the unhappy citizens of tiny Cayro, Georgia, then, to make matters infinitely worse, she becomes a rock-and-roll star, living the glam life in L.A. But Delia cares nothing for fame, and never stops longing for her daughters, even after having a third, Cissy, and she gives it all up as soon as Cissy's father dies, hightailing it back to Georgia to reclaim her real life. Cissy, the cavedweller of the title and a young character of mythic dimensions on the order of Toni Morrison's Sula, is at the molten core of this mystical tale of blood ties and friendship, madness and love, hard work and grace, and she is something to behold. --Donna Seaman


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Four women endure pain, experience epiphanies and find imperfect but bearable methods to continue their lives in Allison's moving second novel, after the celebrated Bastard Out of Carolina. After Delia Byrd buries Randall Pritchard‘father of her 10-year old daughter, Cissy, and guitarist of the rock band Mud Dogs, for which she was the soulful singer‘she leaves L.A. and hits the road to backwoods Cayro, Ga., the town she left a decade ago, fleeing her violent husband, Clint Windsor, and abandoning her two baby daughters. In Cayro, she suffers the scorn of most of the community, who condemn her as a sinner and an unnatural mother. Eventually, she strikes a bargain with Clint, offering to tend him on his deathbed if he will allow her to reclaim her daughters Amanda, 15, and Dede, 12, from their stern, Bible-quoting grandmother. The narrative covers the next few years, during which Delia fights poverty, exhaustion, her household's emotional turbulence and the urge to drink. Sanctimonious Amanda pursues moral rectitude with evangelical fervor; sexpot Dede dreams of driving a big truck down the highway; and outwardly tough but vulnerable Cissy discovers peace of mind in spelunking and begins to suspect her sexual orientation. Allison widens her tale to include other members of the community, rendering some hard-faced, cold-blooded rednecks with unsparing honesty. She weaves into the story such themes as female bonding, the power of hate and the puzzle of love, the hard path to forgiveness and acceptance. There are some problems: the teenage girls often speak unconvincingly sophisticated dialogue, and the narrative tends to ramble. Nevertheless, the novel has a restless energy and consistently interesting characters that will keep readers caring about the flawed but valiant women who manage to surmount their private griefs through stubborn determination. 100,000 first printing; BOMC and QPB featured alternates; author tour. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In 1981, Delia Byrd leaves behind the California life of fame and misery she found at the top of the record charts and the bottom of a bottle to return home to Cayro, GA. Cissy, her young daughter, who is grieving for her newly dead father, crazed rocker Randall Pritchard, wants no part of this new life. Now Delia is trying to put together a life and reacquaint herself with the two older daughters (one a hellion, the other a religious zealot) she abandoned ten years earlier when she fled her murderous husband, who stonewalled all of Delia's attempts to obtain legal custody. Shunned by family and community, Delia struggles mightily with sobriety and three unforgiving, hostile offspring. Her remarkable stoicism as she attempts to carve out a new low-key, rock-solid security for herself and her children is nothing short of heroic. Allison's (Bastard Out of Carolina, LJ 3/1/92) powerful elegance puts the lives of these four women right into the face of her readers as she charts their touching, flawed efforts to construct a workable if unconventional family unit. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/97.]‘Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.