C. Michelle McCarthy, award winning author of “The Jewel Box“, moves to a trailer park in, “Beyond the Pale.” ~ 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? ****************************************************************
Book Review by Thomas Baker
Beyond The Pale, by Michelle McCarthy, is a book that has aesthetic appeal to a wide variety of readers, young and old. The wit, warmth and cleverness of this talented author is evident even before the story begins. Quote: “We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.” – Robert Frost
Of all the possible choice of poets McCarthy had to choose from, this one is appropriately selected. Call it foreshadowing what you will discover in this book. Between the covers, you will find wit, layered with conspiratorial sarcasm (shared by reader and author). This gives the story the very rich Shakespearean quality of complicity.
In this character-driven story, Abigail (Abbie) Locke and son (15), go home to Brenhaven, Georgia for a funeral, her mother’s funeral. She and Abbie had not enjoyed a loving relationship, which is why Abbie left home as a teenager and went to Maryland. Understandably, Abbie has given her son all the love and affection she would have liked to have had from her mother.
McCarthy has written a well paced, emotional roller coaster that allows readers to reflect as they read with delight the judicious mix of light hearted humor and the emotional hunger of its protagonists. Let me give you just a taste of what’s in store for you: (Quote) “Mother didn’t exactly scrimp on Sarah’s big day (wedding), but their expenses barely compared to what was spent on Danny’s (wedding). Julienne’s a pro at butt kissing affluent fannies, but I swear she approached lesbian territory when it came to Mother’s backside.” (end of quote)
From the first page onwards, the characters are human, with strengths and weaknesses that readers will be able to identify with easily. You will not be able to resist the temptation to read this book in one sitting. At 280 pages that’s quite a feat, but that’s what I did. I read this page-turner straight through, from page one to page last, in one sitting. Again, don’t be surprised if you do the same thing too. Highly recommended.