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The World Made Straight by Ron Rash
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The World Made Straight

by Ron Rash

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Ron Rash was recommended to me by a book friend after I vacationed in the Appalachian mountains. I love discovering new authors, especially ones who use their settings as an important part of their storytelling. My friend sent me a copy of The World Made Straight to get me started, and I have to say: I am very intrigued by Rash's writing.

The World Made Straight focuses on two main characters: Travis, a hothead teenage boy, and Leonard, a former teacher turned drug dealer. As the story unfolds, we read as Travis begins stealing pot plants from a crop he discovers while fishing. He sells the marijuana to Leonard - and for good money - which is why Travis keeps going back to steal more. However, the owner of the marijuana field - the gloriously villainous Carlton Toomey - doesn't take kindly to thievery, and eventually catches Travis - literally. Travis flees to Leonard to recover from his wounds and to stay away from his father, who beat Travis for his acts of foolishness.

Once living together, Leonard becomes a surrogate father for Travis, encouraging him to get his GED and telling him stories about a Civil War massacre that occurred in the mountains, which involved Travis's ancestors. The Civil War story piques Travis's interest in learning again and slowly begins his turnaround - until a fateful night when Travis's temper gets the best of him again.

The World Made Straight is all about correcting past mistakes - to put things "straight' again. Sometimes, these acts of redemption were vengeful, others were virtuous. With this theme, Rash creates a page-turning book with simple storytelling. His writing style reminds me of Stewart O'Nan with the atmosphere of Charles Frazier. The characters and setting were spot on; however, I had an issue with the Civil War back story. Living in the American South, I know some wounds run very deep, but the "them vs. us" tone was a little much.

All in all, I enjoyed my first foray into the world of RonRash, and I look forward to reading more stories by this Appalachian writer. ( )
  mrstreme | Mar 10, 2012 |
Reviewed by Mrs. Foley

I've been meaning to read this for quite awhile as teachers and students check it out often. It is a very good book...interesting sort of coming-of-age story. Plus I love the cover! (I know...don't judge a book by its cover!)

Review from Booklist:
High-schooler Travis Shelton steals one too many marijuana plants from vicious tobacco-farmer-turned-drug-dealer Carlton Toomey and ends up caught in a bear trap, his foot so mangled he needs surgery. Travis' stern father kicks him out, and he ends up bunking at the rundown trailer of bookish Leonard Shuler, a low-level drug dealer and former schoolteacher who lost his job and his family because of false charges. Leonard sees in Travis something of himself in his youth, when he used his intelligence to outrun the fate that lies in store for so many of the region's poverty-stricken residents. He bonds with the boy over their shared fascination with a local Civil War incident, a massacre that divided the town. Just as Leonard starts to get his own life in order and talks Travis into making plans for college, he becomes enmeshed in a confrontation with Toomey. Part melancholy historical novel and part high-voltage thriller, this third novel from the talented Rash will appeal to readers who like their suspense done with literary flair. ( )
  hickmanmc | Jan 24, 2012 |
Overall a decent book. I thought the characters were a bit predictable, but enjoyable to read about. The setting really worked well. The best part about the whole story was tying the events of the Shelton Laurel Massacre to present times. ( )
  CutOffTies | Feb 25, 2011 |
I picked this up cheap in a bulk buy of books. When I read it I felt cheated as it was worth so much more. The author creates raw, relateable characters who experience a horrific tragedy that pulls at the heart strings. Throughout the book the characters are very real and sterotypical of that time and region and I would read it again. ( )
  RochelleT | Jul 5, 2010 |
I liked the writing here a lot, although I will confess that it incorporates aspects of one of my Not Favorite plots, the non-traditional education. I'm not really sure why I dislike it so much, it always makes me think "oh boo hoo, the 'system' totally under-appreciated you and now you have to go be some maverick unconventional teacher." I find Dead Poet's Society creepy, for example.

HOWEVER, most of the rest of it was fine and dandy, I'm always a sucker for a good Appalachia book, and it also had a solid Civil War backstory, and small-time drug dealers. And the slimiest, most truly evil, of them was a terrific character, so impressive. ( )
  delphica | Jun 9, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312426607, Paperback)

Travis Shelton is seventeen the summer he wanders into the woods onto private property near his North Carolina home, discovers a grove of marijuana large enough to make him some serious money, and steps into the jaws of a bear trap. After hours on the forest floor, he's released from the trap by the shrewd and vicious farmer who set it--but he can no longer ignore the subtle evils that underlie the life of his small Appalachian community.
 
Before long, Travis has moved out of his parents' home to live with Leonard Shuler, a one-time schoolteacher who now deals a little pot to make ends meet. Travis becomes his student, of sorts, and the fate of these two outsiders becomes increasingly entwined as the community's violent past and corrupt present bear down on each of them from every direction.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After seventeen-year-old high school dropout Travis Shelton stumbles upon his neighbor's marijuana crop, he decides to steal a few plants and sell them to a former teacher turned local dealer. But Travis is caught by the owner of the crop and is left hospitalized and homeless. With nowhere else to turn, he goes to live the teacher and his part-time girlfriend in a rundown trailer.… (more)

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