Monday, May 30, 2011

Backseat Saints: Haunting story of a battered woman on the run

Backseat SaintsBackseat Saints, by Joshlyn Jackson
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Rose Mae Lolly, born in the depths of Alabama, was raised by her abusive alcoholic dad after her mom ran off when she was 8. She experiences men's love through emotional manipulation and shocking physical abuse. After she escapes her hometown, she migrates west and meets another abusive man to marry (Thom Grandee).

Settled in Amarillo, Texas, she's trapped by her husband's domineering family and her helplessness, in addition to the only kind of love she's ever known. All that changes when she meets a fortune teller in the airport. According to her tarot cards, either Thom Grandee has to die, or she will.

So begins her journey--shall she kill her husband before he kills her? She ends up on the run, trying to make a new life for herself and following the clues her mother has left for her and listening to her backseat saints. She spends a lot of time thinking about her high school romance, and in her rose-colored memory, he was the only man who's ever treated her well.

Rose Mae Lolly was a minor character in Jackson's gods in Alabama (which I haven't yet read). This novel gave me a perspective of what goes through the mind of a woman who has only known violent love. In her own way, Rose loves Thom Grandee. (She gets sexually turned on by him, as well.) She finds it very difficult to leave him, much less to kill him, even though he almost kills her first. It was not an easy book to read, but I would recommend it.

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