STARRED REVIEW
July 2016

Finding freedom on the road

By Ann Patchett
Review by
No one in the tiny town of Mursey would expect legally blind Agnes Atwood to run off with bad girl Bo Dickinson. Everyone in Mursey knows the Dickinsons are nothing but white trash. For her part, Bo is drawn to Agnes. Maybe it’s due to Agnes’ aching desire for freedom, or maybe Bo is a little in love with Agnes. In any event, the two decide to steal Agnes’ sister’s car and run away.
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No one in the tiny town of Mursey would expect legally blind Agnes Atwood to run off with bad girl Bo Dickinson. Everyone in Mursey knows the Dickinsons are nothing but white trash. For her part, Bo is drawn to Agnes. Maybe it’s due to Agnes’ aching desire for freedom, or maybe Bo is a little in love with Agnes. In any event, the two decide to steal Agnes’ sister’s car and run away.

In alternating chapters, Bo describes the events on the road, and Agnes fills in the backstory. At first glance, the girls seem to be archetypes of small-town Southern personas. Bo is labeled a druggie and a whore, but she conceals sensitivity beneath her brokenness. Church-going Agnes is obedient and docile, but she craves escape. Her blindness adds another dimension to the story, although she is surprisingly conscious of visible elements such as “rich, sweet-tea” eye color and less attuned to sensation, sound and smell. 

Like Wendy Wunder’s The Museum of Intangible Things, this road trip explores the boundaries of friendship and truth.

 

Diane Colson is the Library Director at City College in Gainesville, Florida.

This article was originally published in the July 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Run

Run

By Ann Patchett
HarperCollins
ISBN 9780061340635

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