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Saturday, June 11, 2011

M.C. Higgins, the Great - Virginia Hamilton

Released February 2011

Open Road Media
Virginia Hamilton

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

More than 35 years after M.C. Higgins, the Great debuted, Open Road Media reissued the classic story in a modern e-book format. Many adults read the story in school, but now the story is available to today's children and is possibly even more dramatic because it captures the history of circumstances some families did face.

M.C.'s family home is in jeopardy no thanks to strip mining occurring in Eastern Kentucky. A slag heap sits above his house and could destroy all they have in seconds. M.C.'s mother has an angelic voice and the appearance of a man carrying a recorder who wants to hear her sing and possibly give her the chance to become famous. Meanwhile, M.C.'s father doesn't want to leave because his mother owned Sarah's Mountain and her spirit is still a strong force in their lives. Meanwhile, M.C. struggles with saving his family home and simply being a teenager who is infatuated with a girl and isn't sure exactly how to go about catching her eye.

For all intents and purposes, M.C. Higgins, the Great is a coming of age story. The author captures the vernacular of the area, which some readers may not enjoy, and paints an exquisite setting that is so easy to visualize. However, the action in the story takes quite some time to reach. By that point, I was ready to give up because I expected to reach the actual problem much earlier in the story. The build up of characters took forever and I found myself struggling to remain focused.

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