I was reading my news feed, and I saw an article about Barbara Kingsolver winning this year’s Pulitzer Prize for literature with her newest book, Demon Copperhead. I don’t need much of an excuse to read a Barbara Kingsolver novel. I’ve loved The Lacuna, The Poisonwood Bible, and many more. This one does not disappoint.
She has a way of writing that perfectly combines storytelling with breathtaking writing. I love the experience of being immersed in her books.
She lives in Applalachia, and this book focuses on the opioid crisis that affects so many where she lives and in all of rural America. It is devastating. She makes it personal. It is sad, tragic, funny, hopeful, and informative.
Some of her great lines.
In my home state of Arkansas, over half the counties are “dry.” No alcohol can be sold there. But . . . that doesn’t mean there’s no alcohol. She writes, “Maybe you also think a dry county is a place where there’s no liquor to be found.” It’s the country equivalent of ‘I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.”
After learning more about harvesting tobacco than I ever knew – which makes slavery and sharecropping even worse than I had previously thought, she writes, “They said the most of our tobacco now was getting sold to China. Meaning I guess we were helping to kill the communists, so. God bless America and all that.” You’ve got to convince people to do this work somehow.
She is also quick to criticize all of the comedy that makes fun of country people. As a Southerner whose heard tons of those jokes (and even made a few), I had never even considered it.
Well worth the time. Read it.