There's a certain joy in reading a book that all your blogger friends love and loving it, too. I do it with some frequency, and it's always awesome having your faith in all your most trusted blogger brethren affirmed. There is another joy, however, and that is discovering a great backlist book that it seems that none of your blogger friends, or really any blogger that you can find has reviewed. It's a bizarre and rare sensation to enjoy a book that seems to have elicited no blogger attention. I mean, jeez, book bloggers as a collective entity read a ton of books both new and old, so in my insular little world, it seems that there must be at least one blogger out there that has read each worthy book, however incredibly ludicrous that thought might be what with there only being so many bloggers, and book blogging becoming popular only lately.
Fear not, I am coming to a point. Any moment now. Wait for it. Waaiiit for it....
Times are especially hard for the young narrator's family, so hard that her mother has fallen to pawning their meager belongings while her father drinks his paycheck at the town's one tavern. Determined to buy back one of her mother's most prized possession, the girl secretly gets a job delivering packages for the local butcher. Through the job and the momentous events of that year, the girl is startled to discover a deep well of secrets lurking beneath the surface of the town, not the least of which involves her own family.
I was actually, for some reason, staggered by how much I enjoyed this book. Whenever I was forced to put it down, I found myself saying to myself in surprised awe, "I really like this book." The Grave of God's Daughter is a different kind of page-turner. Usually when I find myself referring to a book as a page-turner it's because it's a very plot-heavy, action packed, thrill-a-minute sort of read, but I'd hesitate to describe The Grave of God's Daughter as such. Rather, it is so well-crafted and well-paced with such a supremely engaging narrator that it's hard to put down. In fact, I was so caught up in the narrator's tale, in her breathing life into her hometown and the mystery of it as it intertwined with her own life, that it took me nearly two thirds of the book to realize that said narrator is never actually given a name.
Block expertly brings to life the hardscrabble life of her unnamed narrator. She shares a bed with her brother in a house with three rooms, is frightened of the old lady down the street, discovers a dogfighting operation while posing as a boy to make the butcher's deliveries, has the profoundly guilty conscience of a Catholic schoolgirl, and sincerely believes that when she started lying, she set into motion this momentous time of her life when all the lies of a family and a town are beginning to be revealed to her. The Grave of God's Daughter is a profound coming of age tale set in a unique place with absolutely vivid characters that I would recommend to anybody who doesn't mind a bit of darker story and discovering a diamond in the rough.