Lacy Dawn is a little girl who lives in a magical forest where all the trees love her and she has a space alien friend who adores her and wants to make her queen of the universe. What’s more, all the boys admire her for her beauty and brains. Mommy is very beautiful and Daddy is very smart, and Daddy’s boss loves them all.
Lacy Dawn, the eleven year old protagonist, perches precariously between the psychosis of childhood and the multiple neuroses of adolescence, buffeted by powerful gusts of budding sexuality and infused with a yearning to escape the grim and brutal life of a rural Appalachian existence. In this world, Daddy is a drunk with severe PTSD, and Mommy is an insecure wraith. The boss is a dodgy lecher, not above leering at the flat chest of an eleven-year-old girl.
Yes, all in one book.
Lacy Dawn and her very dysfunctional family live in the Hollow (West Virginia) where abuse, poverty and lack of education are the norm. Lacy has suffered a great deal and seen lots of pain her 12 years of life forcing her to grow up much faster and disconnect from her reality. In the fantasy world Lacy Dawn, is special. She’s been chosen to save the world, can talk to the trees and the dead in the magical forest and she has an alien android boyfriend named DotCom. In order to save the world Lacy Dawn must complete a number of tasks which she enlists her family and her dad’s boss to help her with.
I found the beginning of the book a bit confusing and the content unsettling. It took me awhile to get past that and into the storyline. The introduction of talking trees and a space alien living in a cave mirrored with the brutal death of Faith and Lacy Dawn’s insistence on flashing her panties and sexualizing herself at a young age made feel more unconformable than engaged. It was hard for me to wrap my head around the fantasy part when I was worried about a child who was clearly psychologically scarred and suffering in an abusive home.
The book has some interesting plot devices. Lacy Dawn, as the adventurer is a captivating protagonist, the entire concept of Shptiludrp, the mall of the universe and the adventures in the mall but combined with serious topics like abuse, mental health and sexual discovery the storyline becomes too ambitious and bogged down by the dueling concepts. It delves into a level of weird that left me unsure of what I was even feeling as I read the book. I jumped for disturbed to curious with each page. I wish there would have been more development in the world building so the connection from the interesting fantasy parts of the story to the characters emotional and mental state would have been laid out better.
I was happy to read that the author has donated proceeds from this book to a child abuse prevention program.