Blog · Books

Otherwise Known As Possum -Maria D. Laso


Around here, when folks die, people cook.

LizBetty “Possum” Porter is trying to get her life back to normal, but there is not (nor will there ever be) a normal for her.

I knew Momma, most of all, would expect me to smarten back to usual in no unhuried way, even if the crack in my heart would never heal.

There are plenty of busy-bodies (or “Crows” as Possum calls them) who keep inviting themselves over to “support” her father, but Possum knows the truth.

They were all-fired fixed on telling Daddy what to do. And not just what to do, but what to do with me! “Mister Porter, that child needs proper schooling.”

And soon Possum finds herself shipped off to school.

On the one hand, she loves learning. Learning was something she did all day every day with her mother. She wants to know more – like where do the legs on the tadpoles go? Or why do dogs act the way that they do?

At the ripe age of eleven-goin’-on-crazy – all questions and no answers.

But on the other hand, her mother deeply distrusted the nearby schools and taught everything herself to Possum.

School would just wash Momma’s teaching from my mind and heart like a washboard worries at a stain

Out of respect for her mother, Possum decides school is not for her.

And out of respect for her father, Possum decides she WILLgo to school…for now.

I couldn’t see no way out of going to school, but I was already fixin’ to figure out how not to stay there. Sure as shirttails, I’d be back home before Teacher or those flappy Crows could do anything else to pull me and Daddy apart.

Ultimately – I liked this book…although it was near incomprehensible at times.

Twitchy Miz Pickerel flapped like a jitter jack.

To explain – this book is set in the deep south. Butter my biscuits south.

…the biddies were, as usual, ruffling the air with their words.

The southern idioms and grammatically incorrect sentenceswere fun and endearing at first.

… but the more those appeared, the more I just wanted to get to the point.

I did not want one more freckle to fall off my knee for fifty years. At least.

I think it’s hard to convey the truly obscene level of idioms and metaphors present in this book. But there were a lot. Like a lot, a lot.

That being said, Laso does use them to her advantage many a time.

Some of them were downright hilarious!

Her lips, cracked and prunie, shaped a small, tight O that made me think of a chicken butt.

And others just completely pulled at my heartstrings.

Bird-songing and bug-buzzing must have been about, yet I couldn’t hear but a howling wind.

The way such a short and unconventional sentence conveys the truly huge amount of grief young Possum experiences.

All in all – this was truly a unique story and it was rather enjoyable – just a bit heavy on the metaphors.

Interested in this one from Maria D. Laso? Buy it here:  Amazon

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