Title: Rarity from the Hollow
Author: Robert Eggleton
Publisher: Dog Horn
Publication Date: November 3, 2016
Genre: Adult Fiction, Child Abuse, Mental Illness
Rating: 2.5 Stars
I was recently sent Rarity from the Hollow from the author, Robert Eggleton in exchange for an honest review.
Dear fellow Babblers,
I’m disturbed. I’m perplexed. I’m just confused. Like seriously. What in the great land of big foot’s name did I just read ? This story goes back and forth, up and down, sideways, vertical – in every possible direction you can imagine with little time to catch up or even get a grasp on what’s going on. A book which could have potentially been such a masterpiece, giving a realistic account of child abuse and the obstacles of childhood has let me down. From the very beginning this is a bizarre work of fiction that I cannot say I would recommend to anyone to read.
Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage — she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.
Will Lacy Dawn’s predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?
Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children’s story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.
This is an irking tale revolving around a young, seemingly older girl named Lacey Dawn and her quest to fix her family. She lives in a troubled home with an abusive father and a submissive mother on her way to losing her teeth and her mind. Her best friend’s name is Faith. Why her name is Faith beats me as she constantly complains and plays dumb for as long as she’s present in the story, which is not long at all given that her psychotic father murders her not even fifty pages through. If that is not already troubling enough we learn soon on that Lacey Dawn has this super high intelligence level. So high that she doesn’t even really need to go to school. But she does anyway, simply by principle.
Lacey Dawn is best friends, perhaps more, with a sort of robot named DotCom who has the answers to just about everything and passes his knowledge onto Lacey Dawn.
The first portion of the book is marked with vivid, if not frightening evens including abuse, murder and depression. At first, it’s unclear exactly what role DotCom plays in this dark panorama. As the story progresses however the children: Lacy Dawn and Faith, or at least Faith’s spirit, must confront terrifying, often gruesome obstacles. They must figure out what they must sacrifice and choose what is dearest to them to hold onto. The margins between reality and the untouchable become increasingly buried in the depths of the story. This may sound enchanting and mysteriously intriguing for any science fiction fan. Sure, for me too. But it was not done fluidly. There were several moments that left me puzzled. It wasn’t that I just wasn’t following the climax or the characters. It just didn’t make sense to me. Reading is all about losing yourself in the fictional universe and discovering new heights of the imagination. This book just left me feeling flat and without any access into the story world. The whole time I was reading I was completely aware that I was reading, and that is not say that I was enjoying myself either.
What I did find intriguing was how the author dealt with mental illness. I have a high level of respect for novels which take on such a risk and reflect it vividly, but without exaggeration or romanticization, which is exactly as Eggleton managed to do. There are many forms of abuse and mental illness that are traversed, all giving a gruesome, yet utterly realistic depiction of such cases at their heights. The characters, especially the protagonist and her mother are overwhelmingly disturbed and suffer tremendously both from the world around them as well as from their own minds. Each character had problems of his or her own that came in different forms through the story, be it through technology or by death.
Nothing is every made clear and everything is constantly mysterious and blatantly unclear. I found the buildup and overall execution to be choppy and a bit rough. I often felt as though I was reading an unfinished draft. The fictional world itself was never really created. The story just dives in with little to no description or even sense of time. I think that’s what really bothered me most about this book. There was little for me to grasp onto in terms of space and time. I felt rather lost and unable to relate or step into the characters’ world. Real issues were superimposed into a magical universe made up of scientific discoveries and un-relatable objects so there was no way to really feel like I could belong anywhere which is usually what I look for when reading – to become one of the characters. I liked the idea of the author dealing with so many risky topics but the way it was all mushed up together just ruined the entire book for me because the whole time I was reading all I could think was “What?!!!!!!”
With a disturbing cast of characters, all which battle their psyche in bone-chilling ways and a rather confusing entrance into the story I am left to base my rating on the subject matter itself. I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for the authors attempt to use literature as a means to speak to the reader on abuse and mental illnesses. The real issues and thematics were all there and had so much potential for development. However, it was the development itself that was lacking and has lead me to give Rarity from the Hollow 2.5 stars. I close this book with the impression that this was an initial, and strong draft, not yet ready for publication.
(Book image credits go to Goodreads)