So it is once again review time and this time is the first Ebook review of this blog! I was sent this book for an honest review and although it has taken me longer to read and review than I first predicted, this has already been released but currently undergoing a re-edit to fix problems noted within the original publication. Now this is a charity book where all of the money is sent to an American Child Protection Charity and you can see the theme throughout the novel.
Rarity of the Hollow
By Robert Eggleton
Please note:- This contains a lot of triggers, child abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence in particular; all topics that I personally don’t believe were tackled extremely well and I will explain further in my review below.
The blurb below is taken from Goodreads, rather than the synopsis sent by the author as this is what is provided to all readers and not only those receiving in for review.
Lacy Dawn is a little girl who lives in a magical forest where all the trees love her and she has a space alien friend who adores her and wants to make her queen of the universe. What’s more, all the boys admire her for her beauty and brains. Mommy is very beautiful and Daddy is very smart, and Daddy’s boss loves them all.
Lacy Dawn, the eleven year old protagonist, perches precariously between the psychosis of childhood and the multiple neuroses of adolescence, buffeted by powerful gusts of budding sexuality and infused with a yearning to escape the grim and brutal life of a rural Appalachian existence. In this world, Daddy is a drunk with severe PTSD, and Mommy is an insecure wraith. The boss is a dodgy lecher, not above leering at the flat chest of an eleven-year-old girl.
Yes, all in one book.
It is a children’s story for adults with a happily ever after ending.
Now when I sat down to read this book I struggled, you are immediately introduced to extreme sexual nature of eleven year olds. And frankly, after the first few pages I had to put it down because some of the things that were happening and being discussed by the characters disturbed me. You are introduced to two characters, Lacy Dawn and Faith, eleven years old they are disturbingly aware of the sexual world and you learn very quickly that they are not living happy healthy lives.
Now considering the characters, I liked Lacy Dawn; I think she is an interesting character but then as the story progresses there are inconsistencies. She has two modes that I found, she has the child that she is portrayed as, and then she is the android that has been around for a while and only in certain situations (a.k.a only situations where there could be a negative outcome- which never happens). This seriously started to annoy me as the situations developed because she would flutter back to the child version only for comedic value or to add something to a scene but then she’s a totally different character when she travels.
Now Faith is Lacy Dawn’s best friend and within the first few chapters she dies, its not a spoiler because you don’t see that much about it. One chapter she is there, talking about getting her teacher a dildo web address and then shes suddenly a tree. Now considering the book is meant to be about the psychological development that occurs between childhood and adolescence, this should have been a big thing. But it gets a maximum of three sentences of time; literally oh her father beat her to death and now she can move between trees- again this whole tree thing is never explained!
Something as important as the magical tree possession ability should at least be explored in the book, rather than just constantly referred. This annoyed me.
Something that more than annoyed me, in fact it rather upset me, was the way mental health was portrayed. In the blurb you know that Lacy’s father has PTSD, her mother is depressed, and there are a whole host of other mental health concerns. However once you meet DotCom (apparently an android, but this isn’t explained until he starts changing into a real boy) he fixes him by simply plugging him in and changing him over night. This infuriated me, this suggests that mental health problems as complex as PTSD can be fixed simply through learning. Now although many ‘treatments’ use learning as a base, there are other complexities that are involved; but after this miracle curing, Lacy constantly refers to her father as before or after the treatment.
This was meant to be a book about mental health and its complexities, and it turned it into an insult for those who are suffering, or have suffered PTSD. It suggests that there is a quick fix and although the android was from space and has vast amounts of stored data, it states several times throughout the book that this is 2004, so we cant even explain this disregard on the idea that there have been great technological advances. What also confused me, was that this was meant to be Lacy’s development, and yet we see nothing of her own mentality as she goes from being a child to android who knows everything because she is plugged in daily. You don’t see her react to anything, except one brief moment which is fixed almost instantly. Her emotions are flat and pretty non-existent.
Although DotCom was the catalyst for this annoyance, he also added quite a bit of humour to the novel, he basically has to go through the entire male development from child to man across a very short period of time. And as Lacy can glimpse into minds (this woman/ girl/ android can literally do anything a situation needs) you can see how this is altering his character. However, the humour was taken away when almost every scene included a thought or reference to his sudden need to masturbate. The constant reminder wore down the humour to yet more annoyance.
This wasn’t helped by the other mentions of sex, I don’t think I found a page past the fifty page mark that didn’t have a reference to either DotCom’s masturbation, or Lacy’s parents rekindling their sex life… including her mother teaching her (an eleven/ twelve/ thirteen year old) how to work a man up enough and give them what they need. You see Lacy saying in one scene that she is going to wait until they are married before they have sex, but in the next scene she wants him to know that she’s wearing new panties for him, or she has borrowed her mothers see-through top so he can see her boobs.
Okay, it is time that we talked about the plot. It held soooo much potential, there’s a world to save (although you don’t see why, or how, or anything really; just constantly reminded that Lacy has to save the world), and then there is a competition on a space shopping mall. It held so much potential, but it just didn’t reach. Didn’t get close. The plot felt like suspense-nothing, suspense-nothing… right up to the end.
Every time an obstacle was given, even if they were arbitrary, Lacy always had the perfect solution. In other words, there really wasn’t much conflict. Even the big problem at the end was dealt with in such a way you wonder why you even had to read it. An email. Now, as a reader, I cannot abide conflict that could have been dealt with through a conversation. I think it is insulting to the reader and to the characters, yes miscommunication often happens, but rarely does it make a compelling read.
Now after the conflict you have some resolution, a part where you see the promised happily ever after, but you don’t. They haven’t even finished the main activity (post-email clean up basically) when one declares the want of bacon and boom the end of the book. You are left wanting. There are many, many unanswered questions; and it feels like the sotry isn’t finished. That there is a missing chapter or two. That so many sub-plot lines were built up and built-up but never bloomed.
I am giving this read a 3 stars, and for one reason; it made me laugh on occasion. I don’t generally laugh out loud to a book, but a few of the things (usually DotCom or Faith) did make me laugh. I think the book is lacking and I am being generous with three stars.
Now, although I have my qualms with the story and the book, I think the money being raised is vitally important. It saddens me that I didn’t enjoy the book, and that it may result in fewer sales but I cannot alter my opinions because of the financial direction. There are many people who enjoyed this book, so please if you want to go and check it out.
Until next time my friends,
P.S This was my 100th post! Hurray!