One of the hundred books a year I read:

One of the hundred books a year I read:

David Joy Where All Light Tends To Go

Where All Light Tends To Go

David Joy

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There was a place where all light tends to go, and I reckon that was heaven. That lighted place was what that Indian had his eyes fixed on in the picture Mama fancied, and I guess that’s why she’d wanted to get there so badly. The place where all that light gathered back and shined was about as close to God as I could imagine.

The bad news for Jacob McNeely is his life is filled with darkness, not light. The opening pages, where he is spying on his high school graduation because he dropped out two years earlier, highlight how separated he is from the lives of people his age.

He lives with dad, a cold-hearted outlaw who runs the meth business in his corner of the North Carolina mountains, bribes law enforcement, has a slimy lawyer on the payroll, launders money in plain sight of everyone, and enforces his rules with physical viciousness.

His mother is hopelessly addicted to meth and tweaks her way through life, rarely sober enough to have a real conversation with her son. Jacob spends his days working in his father’s business, living a lawless life—fighting, smoking, drinking or doing drugs—and avoiding the “bulls” of law enforcement.

The bright spot in Jacob’s life is Maggie, the girl he stopped dating because he thought she had potential to escape their lives and he was holding her back. She is coming back into his life and giving him an option for a real future.

Can he find a way to escape? Or will the surrounding darkness swallow him up?

In case the description isn’t obvious, this is a dark, violent story told in the beautiful prose of the author. The story, especially the ending, will be with me for a long time.

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