Author: George Dawes Green
“Common Ravens have been observed to manipulate others into doing work for them, such as by calling wolves and coyotes to the site of dead animals. The canines open the carcass, making it more accessible to the birds.They watch where other Common Ravens bury their food and remember the locations of each other’s food caches, so they can steal from them.” From Wikipedia online
Ravens by George Dawes Green suspends the reader with a plot both intricate and bizarre. The novel portrays the down-and-out Boatridge family from Bible-Belt Brunswick, Georgia. Father Mitch, owner of a small copy machine business, mother Patsy, who sips a little too much of her g&t when she doesn’t win her Wednesday lottery, teenager Tara, who just wants out of Brunswick, and youngest son Jase, who seems invisible have just won the Max-a-Million lottery of $318 million dollars. Before they can even react to their incredible luck, two out-of-town grifters devise a scheme to con them out of half of their money by threatening to kill the other members of their family.
Shaw McBride, the proverbial Raven, has manipulated his compassionate and compliant friend Romeo Zerdko to be the “hit man” while he mesmerizes the family and the town. This psychological thriller allows us to watch the family form a love-hate relationship with their captors, while the town considers Shaw a new god, called Father Shaw, (reminiscent of The Raven) capable of miracles and come to save them. The question becomes, is it only Shaw and Romeo who are the Ravens, or is the entire town as well as the family in thrall to Shaw’s manipulations, part of the flock?
The bedrock of the family, however, remains teenage Tara, who along with a town outcast, a demoted old city cop, take control of the situation in the peculiar but inevitable ending.
This is a great read for both teenagers and adults. Tara remains herself, faithful to her friend Clio and her family. When Tara asks Shaw if he knows what he truly wants, Shaw answers “love.” When he asks her if she wants the money, she says “No.” The power shifts to Tara’s court.
I loved the metaphor of the title and the way Green himself manipulates the reader as the final “Raven” of the novel!
Rating is based on a 5-star scale.
Note: GREAT summer read for adults and teens alike.
Review by the “A” Broad – Ava
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