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Fiction Review    

 

Backside of Nowhere
by Sharon Sebastian
1stBooks, 2000
ISBN: 1-58500-540-1
 
 

When you live in a small town, sometimes it’s like being in the “Backside of Nowhere;” however, in Sharon Sebastian’s novel there are good and bad people as well as a sub-culture of crime. 

Set in the late-1950’s in a small Texas town, Backside of Nowhere follows the ups and downs of the Castle family.  Joe Castle is not settling well into his role as husband and father.  Broke and drunk, Joe abandons his family at the moment they need him most.  Camille in labor with their second child has a wreck as she drives herself to the hospital.  The beautiful baby girl has brain damage. 

As a single mother, Camille works as a waitress at the Shey’s Restaurant, volunteers at church activities, and provides a loving home for her two daughters.  Casey, the older child, is responsible for watching over Lilly, who is slow to talk and locked in a child’s mind.  The love between mother and daughters is strong as they find joy in little events.

Yet some of the town feels otherwise.  Mrs. Creighton, a leader in the community and church, is righteous in her opinion that Lilly needs to be institutionalized and takes every opportunity to belittle Camille.  When Lilly falls out of a window at home, social workers push for Lilly to go to the institution.  Camille and Casey unhappily agree, but bring Lilly home each summer when Casey is out of school.

Casey’s best friend Mandy is in love with a bad boy.  Mandy is pregnant with Eddie’s child, and Eddie plans for them to make a new life with stolen drug money.  During a community picnic at Cedar Creek, Lilly wanders into the woods and witnesses Eddie's murder by three young men. 

Not knowing that Lilly doesn’t speak, the hoods try to capture her.  The past and present come together at an abandoned nightclub where the three hoods are holding Mandy and Lilly.

Backside of Nowhere captures life in a small southern town -- from Shey’s Restaurant to the Delta Blues Nightclub.  The family love surrounding a special child is emotionally strong.  Romance from the past and budding love offers resolution and hope.  Sebastian’s background in writing for film comes through as the scenes leap off the page visually.  Backside of Nowhere is a well-mixed blend of mystery, romance and inspiration.

 

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

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