15 February 2011
Post 325: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Spoiler Alert: I don't tell you whodunnit, but I hint at whodidnt.
I really, really identified with the character of Larry Ott. I was never accused of murdering anyone, but I certainly felt and understood the pain of not fitting in and being looked at like I had done something wrong. If anyone should get anything from this book it's how valuable the concept "innocent until proven guilty" really is.
Ott's financial, educational, and social life was pretty much ruined by the ostracization of the town. Granted, he was the weird kid to begin with, but had he been left alone long enough to finish high school, he might have gone on to college where his "strange" habit of reading, interest in snakes, and knack for "odd" scientific facts would not have been unusual. Instead, Ott was harassed right out of high school because people still believed he committed the crime, even though a body wasn't found. What surprises me is that Ott didn't sell all of his father's property and leave town after serving in the military.
I suppose that kind of abuse sticks with some people in different ways. By the end of the novel things have changed for Ott, not necessarily that the town has come to accept him wholeheartedly, but he finally decides not to live as a victim of other people's perceptions anymore. His way might have been braver than mine in the long run. Instead, I left the places where people threw trash at me from their pick up trucks or called me a devil worshipper or invited me to parties only when they needed beer money or a place to crash. It only took me 5 years to escape from that situation, whereas it took Ott 30 years to learn to cope with his.
Then again... It looks like I may be thrown back into the snake pit soon.
My roommate is moving and I can't afford to live on my own. So I'll be moving back in with my mother, who settled in the very place I never wanted to set foot in again. Looks like everything I worked for ended up in the garbage anyway.
There's an excellent book review by Bookmarks Magazine. I'm not sure why it repeats on their page, but you can also follow their reviews on Goodreads.
LibsNote: eBook downloaded from my library via Overdrive Media.