Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Book Review by Kristine Madera
The word that kept popping into my mind as I listened to this book was “relentless.” Demon Copperhead is the first-person narrator in this modern retelling of Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield—itself a fictionalized telling of Dickens’ life. Demon Copperhead’s life is surprisingly true to the original. Set in Lee County, Virginia, in southwest rural Appalachia, Demon’s life is grounded in the poverty of a struggling single mother living in a rented trailer, an absent father whose death he knows little about, the rise of the opioid epidemic, and the tragic ways it pulls people into its grips.
Like I said, relentless.
Also excellent. Kingsolver’s writing is always spot on, but she does a wonderful job capturing Demon’s voice and thought process as he navigates his world from boyhood to a young man. The narration of the audiobook adds even more personality and I highly recommend that version.
That said, it is a long, relentless story of a resilient boy who doesn’t see his innate strength, has little support from the adults in his life, is thrust into and later careens into heartbreaking situations traversed with a dogged survival impulse and a heart that, despite counter winds and poor judgments, tips toward caring and love.
I think this book has toppled my old favorite Kingsolver novel and stolen its place in my heart.
Kristine Madera is a #1 bestselling Amazon author, novelist, hypnotherapist, and pro-topian with a passion for helping people better themselves and the world. Informed by global travel, teaching abroad, and a stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Kristine believes that everyone plays a part in imagining and creating our collective future.
Volunteering at Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying in Calcutta inspired her novel, God in Drag. She birthed her upcoming novel, The Snakeman’s Wife, as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea.
Read the first chapter of God in Drag HERE