Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Glow the debut novel by Jessica Maria Tuccelli is exquisitely written. Her words are a work of beauty and I immediately fell in love with this novel. Glow starts out with Mia (Amelia) McGhee, a civil rights activist on the verge of leading an organized picket against a major grocer in Washington, DC. On the eve of the picket terror strikes too close to home and she places her young daughter Ella and family dog on a bus, alone, headed back to her hometown of Hopewell, Georgia.
Glow is compared to The Help for some odd reason. I think comparison’s to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, and even Bernice McFadden’s Nowhere is a Place would be more accurate. The story deals with slavery in all its cruelty, but gives a lesson on the Native Americans that first inherited this land and the co-mingling of foreigners, slaves and slave owners. Tuccelli’s research and passion for history is evident as she paves the path of heritage from 1941 back through the early 1800’s.
Although Glow opens up with the tale of Mia and the disappearance of Ella after she exits the bus in Hopewell, the book switches gears and becomes the backstory of Mia in her youth. As quickly as the reader makes the adjustment, Tuccelli switches direction again and the reader lands smack dab in additional backstory, even more interesting than the first. It isn’t until page 270 that we get back to the original story and it’s happily ever after ending.
If Tuccelli wasn't such an amazing writer and the stories within the story weren't so intriguing Glow could have been a major flop. My disappointments with the book were my inability at times to keep up with the ethnicity of the characters, and the lack of story between Mia and Obadiah, who is only mentioned in rare instances. I believe their story coupled with Tuccelli’s writing could make for a powerful love story.
Glow started out as a 5 star read but there was too much backstory and too little focus on what started as the main story, cost it a star. I am excited for Tuccelli and look forward to reading her future works; she is a rare and gifted writer.
Peace & Blessings,
Tracy L. Darity
2K13 Letters & Themes Challenge: Choose Your Own Adventure
Book received by Viking/Penguin
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