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Excerpt from Simple…
Walking towards Gran, I could feel the blood draining from my body, trying to find some place to hide. It felt as if it had all gathered in my feet, making each step I took the hardest thing I had ever done.
Gran got up from her rocker and I watched it continue to move, as if she had left some part of herself sitting in it. She walked inside the cabin and waited for me. She had never done more than cuff me across the back of the head, but I figured I had to be in for more than that this time. I was trying to think of the worst she could do.
It was cool inside the cabin. Gran was sitting at the big wooden table grandpa had made. She might as well have been the town judge, sitting behind the high bench. She didn’t move or look at me as I sat opposite, waiting for judgement. I knew better than speak first. I couldn’t have, even if I wanted to, my mouth had dried up. Gran finally spoke, her voice hard, as if she had eaten gravel. ‘You’ve done a bad thing, Leanne. Taken our trust and pissed it in the wind. Jimmy says he should be the one to punish you, says you had no right taking Simple anywhere near the Spiers. Reckon I should turn you over to him, save my words for someone who can hear them.’
I said, ‘I can hear real good,’ with more grit in my voice than I intended.
Gran fixed me with one of those looks that made me wish I could turn to stone. ‘Seems to me, young lady, if your ears still work, then your brain’s gone soft like Simple’s. Fancy interfering in business that aint yours. You know right enough, he needs telling more times than the sun wakes us and then some. You want him took off for takin’ town young’uns?’
‘Course not, Gran.’ My voice came out as a whisper. ‘Simple was hurt real bad. I couldn’t just leave him . . .’
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is a story about some very tough and mean people somewhere in the backwoods and mountains of America. It is told from the perspective of a young girl whose mission in life is to protect her big, but simple-minded brother from harm. The story is compelling, frightening and sometimes brutal in the manner of the film Deliverance, but it is also a heartwarming story of loyalty, love and deep affection. It was not what I was expecting, but I’m glad I read it. It has an unforgettable quality about it and the characters are complex but convincing. It really is a great story and unputdownable.