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Back Roads Paperback – Dec 3 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (Dec 3 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552149675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552149679
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,685,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
All those times me and Skip tried to kill his little brother, Donny, were just for fun. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Moe on May 30 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I could not put this book down. I read it in two days. Deeply disturbing and very sad. Harley, a 19 year old boy is left to care for his three sisters after his mother is sent to prison for shooting her husband (so we are led to believe). It is strange to see that Harley ends up taking the blame for shooting Callie just like his mother ends up taking the blame for shooting her husband. Tawni (the author) is very good at describing her characters and making you feel as though you know them personally. I would definitely recommend this book to fellow readers but would caution them around the contents.
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By A Customer on July 14 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have worked with Emotionally Disturbed teenagers as an English teacher for 10 years. In that time, I have heard stories of abuse that are so disturbing I thought nothing could shock me. This book shocked me. I didn't know what I was getting into when I picked it up. The back and cover are very misleading. I feel, after reading this, that I know now exactly what Holden Caufield was trying to protect kids from. Many times during reading this book I thought of putting it down and not finishing it. It was written in such a way, though, that I felt compelled to finish it. In fact, I read the last 100 pages in one sitting. I am warning the faint of heart, the weak of stomach, the prudes out there who don't want to hear about things that make people uncomfortable: Don't buy this book. For the rest of you, be open-minded, read it, and think about ways to make this world a better, safer place for those who need it most.
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By A Customer on March 10 2004
Format: Hardcover
Some praise this book while others trash it, but with all such things the truth of the matter lies somewhere in the murky middle much like the characters, sad tragic and damaged souls, tormented by a history they had no control over and future that seems even more uncontrolable than their past, but these are no saints. Outside of the littlest girl there seems not a socially acceptable quality amoung them and yet the reader can't quite bring themselves to do what society has done with them - close the book and hope they go away.
It took me a while, but at length I found the author was taking reader on a journey. This isn't entertainment as much as expereince and as such it become a fascinating view into the world of abuse and ideas so evil one can hardly comprehend. Perhaps the main character's fear voiced when confronting his 16 year old sister about the abusive guy she is considering living with are most telling, "Would you stay home if I hit you?" I shared his horror that she is going to say, yes.
The language is foul at times, but revealing of the characters background. Some may be appalled at the young man's poor choices, awful problem solving techniques and his constant desire for sexual intimacy in the most animal terms, but is this all that shocking in a character whose entire existence has lacked the most important of all human elements - love?
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By Theresa W on Feb. 28 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wow! This book was not at all what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be about Harley, who was going through hard times trying to raise his other 3 sisters after their mother shot and killed their father. It was about a lot more than that.
This book is kind of a look into the lives of children who have suffered abuses at the hands of their parents- emotional, physical or sexual. This families life was completely screwed up! I'm quite used to graphic writing, but even I was surprised at some of the violent thoughts in this book. Which is why I have a hard time with everyone calling Harley a hero- I don't see that.
It's really a sad story. You keep wishing for things to get better for this little family, but it just seems to get worse and worse. I do agree with some of the other readers- this book is a bit flawed. I just feel like the resolution and ending was not quite worth it. And the character development wasn't up to par. I think it could have been improved. Or maybe it was that I was just looking for a happy ending. Be warned, this book is often hard to read, it's a sobering subject. But maybe it's a story that needed to be told.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed Back Roads, and while I was reading it, I found I could barely put it down. Tawni O'Dell tells the story of a troubled young man forced to be an adult too soon. Though disturbed by his violent fantasies (which contributed to the suspense of the book), I found I like the character and even laughed out loud at some of his views of the world. (Asking to the talk to the bank, for instance, was very clever.) I don't know if this book will stand out in my mind over the next few months or years, but it definitely kept me enthralled while I was reading it.
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By A Customer on May 28 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought Back Roads solely because it was on the sale rack at the bookstore. I do not regret my purchase, but have a few problems with this book. In it, Harley, a 19-year-old boy, must take care of and provide for his three younger sisters, one of which is a [mean] 16 year old who has sex with every guy in their small town. Harley's past is tainted by the abuse of his father and the murder committed by his mother. Not being a child of abuse myself, I don't know what kind of pain is experienced by these children, but I have never met ANY 19-year-old (man OR woman) who cries as much as Harley does in this novel. I found the book to be depressing, but truthful. It's certainly not for the weak-stomached. The book's ending was strange to say the least, I'm not sure incest was a necessary factor in a story that already included [so much else] but Hey, that's just me. THe book is quick-paced but ultimately dissapointing. I would reccomend this book for someone who usually likes Oprah's picks, it follows her typical themes of depression and abuse in families. Still, I have to saym if your going to read an Oprah book about families, I enjoyed THE RAPTURE OF CANAAN much more(it's also about a teenager in a bad situation). Overall, it was a good debut, but I hope O'Dell's next book is a little lighter and perhaps a little more realistic.
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