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NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE Funny and heartbreaking, this New York Times bestselling debut perfectly captures the maddening confusion of. Editorial Reviews. Review. Oprah Book Club® Selection, March Not since Back Roads – Kindle edition by Tawni O’Dell. Download it once . Danielle Barnes Backroads SUMMARY OF MAJOR EVENTS Backroads begins with Harley being questioned by the police for a crime that the reader knows not.

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To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. But Harley still has a conscience–barely. He doesn’t strike his sisters; he’s been trying to protect them. O’Dell does an impeccable job of making Harley both brutal and forgivable. Here, for instance, he retreats to his basement room: Harley’s anger metamorphoses into an almost bloodthirsty lust for his sexy, middle-aged neighbor, which stirs up myriad forbidden family secrets.

Misty, it turns out, has been hiding something. And even Jody’s scribbles turn malevolent. While the writing is good throughout, the tension and plotting assume an unpleasant adolescent posture–bodice-ripping passion and mordant gloom combined.

Nonetheless, O’Dell’s assured and touching portrait of her protagonist emerges unscathed. You will likely remember luckless, fated Harley Altmyer long after his tsunamic tale has receded. And no matter what the judge decides, you will understand why this impoverished, angry young man was probably the most innocent one of all. Harley has become the guardian of his three younger sisters as the result of their mother going to jail for the shooting death of their father.

Each sibling finds his or her own way of coping with this family tragedy. During his regular visits with a psychotherapist Harley finds some comfort while at the same time feeling disdain for this woman. He is able to satisfy his youthful urges by beginning a series of sexual encounters with an older woman whose daughter is a playmate of his youngest sister.

The characterizations are vivid, and each family member generates sympathy. Reader Dylan Baker does a satisfactory job of interpreting Harley’s sense of frustration and cynicism.

Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell

An absorbing novel worth purchasing for fiction collections. DCatherine Swenson, Norwich Univ. Berkley January 1, Publication Date: January 1, Sold by: Not Enabled Screen Reader: Enabled Amazon Best Sellers Rank: Harley Altmyer should be in college having the time of his life.

He should be free from the backwards Pennsylvania coal town he calls home, with its lack of jobs and no sense of humor. As he struggles to keep it together, things begin to spin out of control. Soon Harley finds that as shattered as his family is, there are still more crushing surprises in store. Readers will care very much about him and his future, if indeed he has one. Read more Read less. Audible book Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice.


Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of bck. Hinton The Outsiders has a female novelist penned such a tough and titillating portrait of lower-class, crime-ridden manhood. Why is he being held by the authorities, and what’s he so mad about?

In the recent past, it’s his mother, who murdered his father and went to jail for life. In the far past, it’s Dad himself: In the present, it’s the responsibility for his three younger roxds, which makes him fantasize about smashing their faces in until they “spit up bloody macaroni and cheese.

Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell

Tawnni a small Pennsylvania town depressed by coal mine closings, a young man of 19 finds himself thrust into the role of parent. See all Editorial Reviews. Product details File Size: Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback. Share your thoughts with other customers.

Back Roads Reader’s Guide

Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention back roads tawni odell year old main character younger sisters young man subject matter highly recommend book club well written twists and turns sisters after his mother dysfunctional family page turner roqds read recommend this book read this book take care mother is in prison child abuse. Showing of reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I generally like books bacl are dark and edgy but this one was too dark for me, something that doesn’t happen very often.

Back Roads

It was just tragic circumstance upon tragic circumstance being heaped upon these all-too-tragic characters. I liked Harley, the main character, and, in fact, I empathized with most of the characters in the book.

But there wasn’t a single ray of hope for any tawbi them, not really at any point in the book. The ending, like the rest of the book, was tragic and unsatisfying. If you want to feel like life is hopeless, read this book.

Otherwise, choose something else. I felt like it had as many 1 stars as it did 5 stars. I read a few comments from roaads group and bought it anyway. Maybe some of the readers were too close to the tswni. Im glad I read it to the end. It helped to pass the time for me and gave me something to think about. Loved the twist and turns. Life is never really what you see on the outside.

Life is filled with secrets. One person found this helpful. One of the most amazing aspects of O’Dell’s writing is that she leads you to draw one conclusion about a character, and then slowly feeds you evidence that you’ve misjudged. I vack that’s what I enjoyed most about this story, the slow reveal leading to the ultimate conclusion. And then I’m left hating the people I respected, rroads respecting the people I hated.


I can’t stop thinking about the story, or the author. She actually grew up in Indiana PA, where this novel is based.

As a writer who grew up in a gritty place, I’ve wondered how to write about the amazing stories I accumulated there. O’Dell has done it, and roafs writing another one. I respect her for that.

I gave Back Roads roaes stars because of VERY strong 3-dimensional characters, dramatic tension and suspense, a hero I could root for – although anti-hero might be the better term – and a satisfying conclusion. I respected the way the author was able to show Harley, the main character, falling apart under the strain.

His internal dialogue revealed such incredibly violent tendencies which hawni never acted out – another major victory for this pathetically heroic young manand those tendencies were backstory! He didn’t get that way from the inciting incident. He and his sisters grew up in this situation, and they all reacted to it in different ways.

I roaads like to hunt for themes in a story I enjoy, and in this one I saw the theme of responsibility accepted and shirked. Too much or too little taken on, and the results of that decision. Another theme was the question of Stockholm Syndrome – did Harley have it or not? Who was the tormentor, and who the tormented, in Callie’s marriage?

All in all, an roadz book. I highly recommend it.

I couldn’t put this book down. To my surprise, the unfavorable reviews here were a pleasure to read, tawbi many made me WANT to read this book. I am a fan of dark “depressing” stories, with more realistically troubled characters, so I had to get a copy and find out what had compelled the director of Jacob’s Ladder a very dark film, and a masterpiece in my opinion to adapt this book for the screen.

And tawnu course, it’s brilliant. Tawni O’Dell is incredibly imaginative and I was easily transported to her coal-mining town setting alongside her colorful characters. Her descriptions, her call-backs, her character design in the teenage boy protagonist was all a joy to experience.

Now, I’m struggling even more to wait for the film! O’Dell provides insight into a segment of America O’Dell provides insight into a segment of America most of us only see from car windows as we speed down the interstate.