Monday, February 17, 2020

Dig. by A.S. King - OPTIONAL

Dig. by A.S. King 392 pages. Dutton Books Penguin, 2019 $18.00

Language: R (100+ swears 87 'f's); Mature Content: R; Violence: PG13.



5 teenagers - The Shoveler, Malcolm, the Freak, Loretta and CanIHelpYou are connected to each other. Each is the subject of their own plot-line, eventually coming together, they are cousins, part of a family with a lot of secrets. Each is deeply troubled, but doing the best they can under the circumstances. One's father is dying, another sells pot while working the drive up window at Arby's, on the brink of what feels like madness, one is the ring mistress of a flea circus, the 5th lives in a world disconnected from reality. 

The story is difficult to explain; that's part of the beauty of A.S. Kings Printz medal winner. It is a very difficult read. Tragic is putting it mildly. Full of issues - racism, sexuality, grief, illness, mental health - King doesn't cut any corners and addresses them head on. I hated the damage the grandparents caused, I hated how this dysfunctional family passed their problems to the next generation and the next. My heart hurts for the kids. For that reason I think I liked it - it made me feel something, it made me think, it made me angry and worried and heartbroken. 

Lisa Librarian

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