So far the proceeds of Rarity from the Hollow have been donated to a child abuse
prevention program in the authors home state which i think is something truly amazing. Eggleton should be heavily commended for that.
Synopsis from the author:
“Lacy Dawn is a true daughter of Appalachia, and then some. She lives in a hollow with her worn-out mom, her Iraq War disabled dad, and her mutt Brownie, a dog who’s very skilled at laying fiber optic cable. Lacy Dawn’s android boyfriend has come to the hollow with a mission. His equipment includes infomercial videos of Earth’s earliest proto-humans from millennia ago. He was sent by the Manager of the Mall on planet Shptiludrp (Shop ’till You Drop): he must recruit Lacy Dawn to save the Universe in exchange for the designation of Earth as a planet which is eligible for continued existence within a universal economic structure that exploits underdeveloped planets for their mineral content. Lacy Dawn’s magic enables her to save the universe, Earth, and, most importantly, her own family.”
Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton is an epic tale centering around Lacy Dawn, a little girl with special abilities who talks to flora and has a dead best friend. Trapped between an abusive father and a loving but neglectful mother she escapes the realities of her world with an extraterrestrial who can’t seem to get the hang of wearing clothes, but it’s not pedophilic: he has no private parts. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away as I feel, with any book, discovering the road to the climax is the one of the most exciting parts of reading and I think the synopsis above is a concise and clear summary of the book in its entirety.
The novel is from the perspective a child and while you’re reading Rarity from the hollow you really become immersed in her voice. It’s as if you could be opening the pages to any girls diary and hear her preteen voice clearly coming through. The way a child would see and interpret the world is, for the most part, spot on. I really enjoyed her voice, her thoughts and her beliefs cutting through all the drama. With a lot of books you hear the authors voice overshadowing the protagonist. You don’t get that here, which I think is a really big asset to this incredible adventure.
The book is saturated in satirical undertones which really brings the narrative to life. the unbelievable becomes slightly comical which stops the book from taking itself too seriously while still putting emphasis on the important issues portrayed within, namely child abuse, neglect, the severity of PTSD and poverty to name a few.
While this book has some really enjoyable features that make reading it a pleasure, I did find myself a little confused throughout the book. There are so many different aspects and layers to this story that seemingly jump out at you. If you don’t have a working knowledge of every concept in the book before reading it all of the supernatural, sci-fi and other worldly aspects come out of nowhere because it doesn’t feel as if they would have a place within the book you were read two pages ago. There isn’t any kind of foreshadowing or lead up to any of these elements. It presents itself as YA drama rather than a supernatural novel which is why little hints before these moments would really add to this books potential. For instance Lacy Dawn’s best friend happens to be a ghost, which doesn’t become clear until multiple interactions have come and gone. Along with that I found the point of view switches unexpectedly between characters, while still keeping lacy dawn’s child-like tone of voice, without any kind of indicator that the change has occurred. I found that this jolted me out of the rhythm of the story.
The Hollow is an extremely complicated and convoluted story. Not to say that those things are bad, they’re not, but they can lead a story to becoming a little too hard to follow and really dive into.
The book is filled to the brim with abusive adults, sexual awakenings (preteens and their dirty little minds), magical abilities, supreme intelligence, talking trees, dead spirits, aliens named DotCom complete with high tech computers and the ability to change someone’s entire thought process by ‘plugging them in regularly’, other world shopping centers and extraordinary destiny’s just to touch on a few. I don’t know what this story is trying to be because the book doesn’t know what it’s trying to be.
I think that there are some really amazing and interesting ideas within this book, however I feel Eggleton attempted to put too many ideas within the one story, and I’m not convinced that its paid off. Separately these ideas and concepts could have created incredible reads because there could have been more time spent fleshing out the one idea. For instance if Lacy Dawn’s own abilities where the sole focus, or DotCom’s intergalactic abilities and ways of life. I could really get into something like that.
On to one of my more positive thoughts while reading the book. I don’t want to draw a comparison with Alice in Wonderland because it’s not Alice in Wonderland, lets be clear about that right now. However I felt, while reading the book, that there was a way the story could have gone that was of Wonderland’s scope. In feel if nothing else. In the sense that it reads as if from a child with all their naïve sensibilities. While I was in the middle of the book I got the feeling that this could turn out in this Alice in wonderland fashion. A young girl escaping the realities of her bleak, beating plagued world through extraordinary adventures, magical powers and in Lacy Dawn’s case highly intelligent aliens. I half expected her to wake up from a short sleep and wander back to her abusive parents. Regardless that that’s not the case, I think the not knowing how it’s going to end was what drove you to the last few chapters.
I won’t lie, this book isn’t something I would go out of my way to pick up, purchase and read. I will say however that I found the journey of this book was not one I regret taking. Reading outside of one’s comfort zone is always a positive experience to have.
You can have a read of the first chapter HERE
About the Author:
“Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997. Today, he is a recently retired psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.”