How do I give this book five stars? It rips your soul out of your body with it’s strong, dark presence. You beg to be released from the grips of this story. This one ain’t farting rainbow unicorns, boys and girls.
Ephram Jennings met young Ruby when she and her cousin happen upon him fishing in the local pond. They take him with them to meet with the local voodoo woman Ma Tante. This sets the tone for the book and the author brings alive the scene and scared the crap outta me. She sees that Ruby has “taints” attached to her and lost souls are following her around.
Ma Tante reached out and grabbed Ruby’s right hand. She turned over her palm and pointed. “You got the mystic star. There.” She took her other hand. “There, too. Lord child you ain’t nothing but a doorway. How many haints you count at your heels?”
Ruby ends up going to New York with the deep buried want of finding her mother. Who left Ruby as an infant. Ruby’s life. I don’t even know where to begin. You would think escaping the small town life of Liberty would have changed things for her. Those haints that follow her never let up.
Ruby carried the quarter close to her, then opened her palm. The word “Liberty” hung like a banner over the White man’s head, which made it easy for Ruby to know whom it was promised to. Both word and coin. With God’s trust and blessing.
Ruby does return to Liberty after receiving news from a family member that they need her. Once there she is used by the men in town and shunned by the so called religious women. Then Ephram remembers that girl he fell in love with when they were children and sets out to take her some of his sister Celia’s cake.
Celia is up for “Church Mother” and once Ephram takes up with the devil woman she sees it as her righteous duty to help him see the error of his ways. Along with the townspeople.
It wasn’t just the exhibition of sin that Celia Jennings had painted so beautifully during testimony that morning, it was the pure, unadulterated, juicy, unholy spectacle of the thing. The scarecrow crazy whore of Liberty had taken up with the township’s mule of a deacon. It was the best piece of gossip the town had had to chew on in twenty-three years.
There’s a line in the book that Ephram says to Ruby: If you can bear to have lived it, I can at least bear to listen. that thought stayed with me as I read this book.
It’s not going to be a book that everyone loves. It features inhuman cruelty, rape, incest, false religion and just pure evil. Through it all though the author’s voice rings true.
I received a copy of this book from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.