“A heady admixture of explosive plot and taut, burnished prose . . . Mesha Maren writes like a force of nature.” —Lauren Groff, author of Florida
In 1989, Jodi McCarty is seventeen years old when she’s sentenced to life in prison. When she’s released eighteen years later, she finds herself at a Greyhound bus stop, reeling from the shock of unexpected freedom but determined to chart a better course for herself. Not yet able to return to her lost home in the Appalachian Mountains, she heads south in search of someone she left behind, as a way of finally making amends. There, she meets and falls in love with Miranda, a troubled young mother living in a motel room with her children. Together they head toward what they hope will be a fresh start. But what do you do with your past—and with a town and a family that refuses to forget, or to change?
Set within the charged insularity of rural West Virginia, Mesha Maren’s Sugar Run is a searing and gritty debut about making a break for another life, the use and treachery of makeshift families, and how, no matter the distance we think we’ve traveled from the mistakes we’ve made, too often we find ourselves standing in precisely the place we began.
Maren's impressive debut is replete with luminous prose that complements her cast of flawed characters. Jailed in 1989 at 17 for shooting her girlfriend, Paula, Jodi McCarty is 35 when she begins her life as an adult on the outside. Jodi is temporarily thrown off course after her release when she meets Miranda, an unmoored addict living in a motel. Jodi falls for Miranda, and they become romantically involved and take Miranda's three children to West Virginia, away from Miranda's soon-to-be-ex-husband. But Jodi's ultimate goal is to find Paula's younger brother, Ricky, and convince him to move with her to her home in West Virginia. When she locates Ricky, now a grown man, he agrees to accompany them. Throughout the course of the novel, Maren reveals Jodi's relationship with Paula (as well as more details about her murder) and how they traveled across the country, gambling and doing drugs. After reaching the mountain cabin and trying to keep Miranda stable, Jodi realizes her beautiful retreat is an overgrown property owned by someone living in another state and fracking is getting closer. Maren astutely captures Jodi's desperation in trying to unite a family despite her past.
Bought this book after reading a glowing review in the literary section of my newspaper. It must be me, I found it much to wordy, somewhat confusing and a great bore! The concept was good and I kept waiting for the hook to pull me in...no hook. Just tell me an interesting story in a simple intelligent way with characters that make me care enough to finish the book! So just one woman’s opinion. You have been warned!👎
Captivating story of a women trying to rebuild a life lost to incarceration
The son character was so dynamic with her thoughts, her doubts and her ineptitude in living in society after spending more years in prison than she had spent in the free world. At 17 she was sentenced to life in prison for killing her lover but was released 18 years later to find herself caught up in chaos with unsavory friends and family members. Her affair with another woman has once again awakened the jealousy and obsessiveness she exhibited with her first lover that she killed.
The story keeps you turning the pages anxious to get to the next page as the story unfolds into surprising and dangerous situations for Jodi and those around her.