BOOK REVIEW: The World Made Straight by Ron Rash

The World Made Straight by Ron RashThe World Made Straight
By Ron Rash
Completed March 9, 2012

Ron Rash was recommended to me by a book friend after I vacationed in the Appalachian mountains. I love discovering new authors, especially ones who use their settings as an important part of their storytelling. My friend sent me a copy of The World Made Straight to get me started, and I have to say: I am very intrigued by Rash’s writing.

The World Made Straight focuses on two main characters: Travis, a hothead teenage boy, and Leonard, a former teacher turned drug dealer. As the story unfolds, we read as Travis begins stealing pot plants from a crop he discovers while fishing. He sells the marijuana to Leonard – and for good money – which is why Travis keeps going back to steal more. However, the owner of the marijuana field – the gloriously villainous Carlton Toomey – doesn’t take kindly to thievery, and eventually catches Travis – literally. Travis flees to Leonard to recover from his wounds and to stay away from his father, who beat Travis for his acts of foolishness.

Once living together, Leonard becomes a surrogate father for Travis, encouraging him to get his GED and telling him stories about a Civil War massacre that occurred in the mountains, which involved Travis’s ancestors. The Civil War story piques Travis’s interest in learning again and slowly begins his turnaround – until a fateful night when Travis’s temper gets the best of him again.

The World Made Straight is all about correcting past mistakes – to put things “straight’ again. Sometimes, these acts of redemption were vengeful, others were virtuous. With this theme, Rash creates a page-turning book with simple storytelling. His writing style reminds me of Stewart O’Nan with the atmosphere of Charles Frazier. The characters and setting were spot on; however, I had an issue with the Civil War back story. Living in the American South, I know some wounds run very deep, but the “them vs. us” tone was a little much.

All in all, I enjoyed my first foray into the world of Ron Rash, and I look forward to reading more stories by this Appalachian writer. (  )

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gavin
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 03:21:47

    I haven’t read this one but I loved Serena and his book of short stories, Burning Bright. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Reply

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