Demon Copperhead ~ by Barbare Kingsolver

This is a heck of a good book.  It’s brilliant actually, if you consider language and character development and themes etc.  Except for Unsheltered (2018). I’ve followed Barbara Kingsolver’s writing career from The Bean Trees in 1992.  Imo, until now, The Poisonwood Bible was the best of the lot.  

Demon Copperhead 
by Barbare Kingsolver
2022  (896 pages)
Reaed by Charlie Thurston 21h 3m
Rating: 9
.5 / contemporary fiction

But Demon (real name Damon) Copperhead  is the better book – maybe – by a hair. It’s a Bildungsroman, a coming-of-age tale, of a red-haired boy growing up as the only child of a poverty-stricken teenage mother in a single-wide shack of a trailer in the back hills of western Virginia.  Demon is smart, funny and insightful  and it’s his 1st person story told at a much later time, from the point of view of an adult. 

Their borrowed trailer is on a little patch of land near friendly folks in far west Virginia.  Demon plays with the boy next door who might have some problems with his burgeoning gayness/transexuality. David’s dad is deceased by several years and his mom is an addict who tries her best by finding a husband so then there’s abuse added to the misery. Mom dies and Demon is put into the system of foster homes and his own cycle of poverty.  The neighbors remain friends and keep in very close touch as Demon moves from situation to situation. That’s how he grows up, discovering that he has talents for drawing and football and he likes girls.  Somehow Kingsolver is enough of a writer to make this story page-turning.  

Kingsolver has taken David Copperfield and dressed him in the clothing of Demon Copperhead, setting him down in the rural slums and foster homes of Appalachia in the 21st century.  Specifically this is western Virgina where the opioid crisis is going full bore and has touched the lives of almost everyone.   

Kingsolver is known for her concern for social and human issues so has pointed the plots of her books in that direction.  Colonialism in Africa, climate change, poverty, ecology, and the opioid crisis in the Appalachian area of the US.    

I’m very glad I took the time to read it.  

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