Thursday, April 21, 2011

REVIEW: Backseat Saints, by Joshilyn Jackson

Backseat Saints, by Joshilyn Jackson. Published 2010 by Grand Central Publishing. Fiction.

Backseat Saints isn't normally the kind of book I'd pick up but I got to see author Joshilyn Jackson speak at Book Expo last year and I just thought she was so neat and funny that I had to read her book. Sometimes that happens- I hear an author and just kind of like him or her enough to read outside my comfort zone. So here I am with Backseat Saints, a light book about a serious subject, domestic abuse and family violence. And I loved it.

Ro Grandee, a former runaway is married to the awful Thom, a terrible but terribly charismatic man who regularly beats her; one day, an airport gypsy tells her to kill him. She's just come out of the hospital after his latest violent outburst and comes up with a plan. When she fails, she knows she has to leave, and leave now. The book follows her journey and tells the story of her life before and with Thom and his gruesome family in flashback. Ro's own mother left her own bad husband who abused little Ro too, teaching her what to expect from men- and Ro learns all too well. But hopefully it's not too late for her to make the better life she deserves and be the woman she always believes she can be.

Backseat Saints is a tough book that manages nonetheless to be funny and hopeful and even a little heartwarming. First of all she's made a great, likable and even lovable heroine in Ro, and I was pulling for her with every step. And Jackson has a firm handle on the way someone's mind works when all they've ever known is being hurt by those they love and depend on. It's scary and sad but it rings true. Ro's mother reappears and tries to protect her daughter in the end- and it may or may not be too late. You'll have to read this winner of a book to see how it all ends and it's Ro and her own irresistible charm and charismatic voice that will keep you turning the pages. For me it was a terrific read.

Rating: BUY

FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher.