Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

"A good story doesn't just copy life, it pushes back on it." - Barbara Kingsolver

If you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into- this was a favourite of mine last year. Not a beach read! (Though it just occurred to me I did read it on a beach…) However, I'm sure you're gathering that I tend to favour books that feature "heavy topics".

  1. Opioid epidemic in Appalachia
  2. Addicted teenage mother & abusive stepfather
  3. Poverty, neglect, abandonment
  4. Deeply flawed foster care system

Demon Copperhead was a co-recipient of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and won the 2023 Women's Prize for Fiction. Kingsolver was inspired by the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield. The parallel between these stories puts a spotlight on treatment of the marginalized and how little has changed since the Victorian times.

Demon’s story starts when he is born to a drug abusive, single teenaged mother in modern day southwest Virginia “dead in the heart of Lee County” in a settlement people called “Right Poor”. Both devastating and sanguine- Demon’s voice will open your eyes to realities you won’t be able to ignore. Definitely an uncomfortable “step outside your privilege” type experience. The social injustices suffered by Demon and the people of the rural south are incomprehensible. 

This book will give you raw honesty and harsh perspective. 

“Live long enough, and all the things you ever loved can turn around to scorch you blind. The wonder is that you could start life with nothing, end with nothing, and lose so much in between.”

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