Odysseus was a legendary and cunning hero on a journey to find home, and lived by his guile. Annie Oakley was a sharpshooter with an epic aim, living by her wits. Siddhartha traveled on a spiritual quest to find himself, and defined the river by its timelessnessâ€”always changing, always the same. Now, in Bonnie Jo Campbellâ€™s adventure story, we are introduced to sixteen-year-old Margo Crane, gutsy, feisty survivor who manifests a flawed blend of all three heroes, who lives once and inexorably upon a river.
The story of the slow collapse of Michiganâ€™s economy is well known by now. Built around the automotive industry and a core base of manufacturing, the economy started a slow decline as those manufacturing jobs moved out of state. The state now has an astounding unemployment rate of 14.8%.
The characters in AMERICAN SALVAGE, a memorable set of short stories nominated for the National Book Award this year, are all victims of the stateâ€™s slow decline. The author Bonnie Jo Campbell narrates stories in which some of the characters have taken to meth or alcohol while still others cling on to jobs that donâ€™t pay much.
December 4, 2009
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Bonnie Jo Campbell, Michigan Â· Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, National Book Award Finalist, Reading Guide, Short Stories, US Midwest, y Award Winning Author