“The Beet Queen” by Louise Erdrich
“Oh, I read that — I don’t really remember it.”
I’m pretty sure that’s how I’m going to feel in a few days when I look back on finishing the book. While reading it, I was aware that Erdrich is obviously a talented writer with a real knack for prose, and that these regular, rural folks are pretty vivid characters, but as a whole the book left me a little cold. Other than the bratty tween daughter of a character, who shows up only toward the end of the book, I didn’t really care about anyone or what happened to them.
“The Beet Queen” is the story of Mary and Karl, who are abandoned by their mother as kids and wind up in Argus, North Dakota. From there, their paths diverge. Tough as nails workhorse Mary stays put, while Karl chooses to wander the country as a (kinda sleazy) salesman. These two people, and those who revolve around them over the course of lifetimes, make up this story.
As someone who grew up in a rural setting, there’s usually something I can latch on to and ride out a book. Not this time. Oh well.
All that said, I got the book for $2.50 at the Open Books Half-Off sale, so I don’t regret my purchase. The book caught my eye as it lay on top a pile of other books, and so I snagged it. I regret nothing! 🙂