The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
5
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"After witnessing the death of his younger brother in a terrible home accident, 14-year-old Kevin and his grieving mother are sent for the summer to live with Kevin's grandfather. In this peeled-paint coal town deep in Appalachia, Kevin quickly falls in with a half-wild hollow kid named Buzzy Fink who schools him in the mysteries and magnificence of the woods. The events of this fateful summer will affect the entire town of Medgar, Kentucky, [which] is beset by a massive mountaintop removal operation that is blowing up the hills and back-filling the hollows"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Publishing, 2015.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781455551927
1455551929
Branch Call Number: FIC SCO
Characteristics: 468 pages ; 24 cm

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r
rodraglin
May 15, 2016

Lacks intensity and focus

Fourteen year-old Kevin and his mother have come to live with his grandfather in Kentucky for the summer to try to heal after the tragic death of his three year-old brother.

"Pops" is a veterinarian in the small coal-mining town of Medgar, deep in the Appalachians.

His grandfather is wise and compassionate and soon Kevin is helping him with his rounds, getting acquainted with the area and making friends.

It soon becomes apparent the town is split between those who support the coal baron who provides jobs and economic activity and those opposed because of the environmental degradation caused by the new technique of blowing the tops off mountains to get at the coal rather then sink shafts and extracting it.

The tension mounts and culminates in the murder of a popular opponent to the mining. It's a complicated situation for a fourteen year-old and it tests his courage and his integrity.

Christopher Scotton has done a good job on describing the lifestyle of rural Kentucky as well as damage to the environment of this new type of mountain top removal mining.

Though the dialogue sounds authentic the characterization of many of his major characters is clich├ęd.

The novel seems to lack intensity and I found myself skimming pages to get to some meaningful action. Finally when it happens I found the motivation and unfolding of events went beyond this readers suspension of disbelief.

Then, when the story appears to be about to end naturally Scotton for some reason feels compelled to let the reader know how it all works out for everyone in the future.

Endings are difficult but in this case Scotton would have been better leaving the future to the reader's imagination.

r
rdw39
Jul 18, 2015

This was an outstanding book! I found myself pulled in from beginning to end. It has the rare combination of surprise, mystery, humor & redeeming characters. I especially felt that Pops was a compassionate & mentoring grandfather to Kevin & both of them & Buzzy were likeable characters and well developed. For a first novel, Scotton has a great future in writing if he can keep the reader captivated in his storytelling.

r
Reads_A_Lot
Apr 18, 2015

Loved this book. I'm pretty stingy with 5 star ratings, but this was deserving. Started it in the morning and couldn't put it down -- finished it by bedtime. Loved the small town Appalachian setting and the bond between Kevin and his Grandfather.

p
pktab
Mar 28, 2015

This is one of the best books I've ever read! I really had no intention of reading past a couple of pages because I have so many books reserved and already at home to read.
But I got "sucked in" from the first page. It's about an era I don't usually read about and people I don't usually read about but, oh boy, this author knows how to tell a story!
His story telling is so mesmerizing, believable and moving. Some times I just had to stop and enjoy the beauty of his language; the descriptions - they were breathtaking.
Treat yourself to something different and read a story that's incredibly moving!

b
beverleymcmaster
Feb 01, 2015

Good read about environmental issues ,mining Appalachia, including tensions and violence in the small community affected by it.Also a heart stopping adventure in the middle.
For YA to adult.

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