Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: Gravel on the Side of the Road by Kris Radish

Kris Radish is the author of many novels and is also a journalist who has reported on some of the scariest, saddest, and most gruesome events ever, covering war, terminal illness, and murders. This collection of short essays is culled mainly but not exclusively from her experiences as a journalist rather than a writer of fiction but these are not newspaper articles by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, they are often full of the very things that can't make it into a purely journalistic piece: personal emotions. And the pieces' topics range from the very personal death of the cousin who was like her sister, to small local interest things like the roughneck bar run by a man named Wong, to larger, more complicated pieces about war and the young men leaving to fight.

Each brief essay is a small window into Radish's personal beliefs, concerns, and hopes. The pieces are not chronological and they are not grouped by their personal or public focus either. They come from different times in her life and she acknowledges in the introduction that she was an entirely different person when she wrote some of them. The tone of the work as a whole is casual, as if the reader is a friend sitting on the couch chatting with Radish. Some of the writing is fairly philosophical and some of it can be overly descriptive. She does make constant reference to the size of her breasts (small) and to her status as a tough broad in many of the essays, the latter of which is better shown through her actions and the former of which is rarely illustrative. For a reader reading all of the essays in one sitting, this repetition stands out but for a more leisurely reader, it probably wouldn't register. Radish has had a front row seat at some pretty seminal events and it is interesting to read the very subjective feelings behind what had to have been objective reporting at the time.

For more information about Kris Radish and the book, check out her website, her Facebook page, or connect with her on GoodReads. Take a look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Janay from Book Sparks PR and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.

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