Courtesy of Beaverdale Books
Review by Fay Jones
Fans of Michael Perry’s earlier essays will recognize familiar elements from those works, and readers of “The Scavengers” will find it easy to also love his new, engaging adventure story.
Perry gives us a smart, strong heroine in Maggie, his young narrator. Twelve-year-old Maggie has only hazy memories of what it was like before the government mandated everyone live in UnderBubble, in controlled bubble cities or OutBubble and on their own in the wilderness. Maggie’s family chose the freedom to live in the woods, foraging and scavenging for what they needed to survive.
Independent Maggie has dubbed herself “Ford Falcon” after the abandoned station wagon she uses as a bedroom. Maggie was “a nice name,” but “these weren’t nice times,” she explains. She helps her family with gardening and other chores, scavenges for food or junk to barter and has her Spit Stick at the ready to defend herself against the dangers of solar bears and Grey Devils. She reads Emily Dickinson and drinks tea with her mother, who tries to maintain some standards of civilization. Across Skullduggery Ridge are Toad and Arlinda, neighbors who teach her survival skills and become cherished friends.
When Ford comes back from a bartering outing with Toad and finds her home in disarray and her family missing, she bravely sets out to the bubble cities to try to find them and bring them home, and we are rewarded with an authentic ending befitting of our protagonist. With funny, unique characters and an imaginative, compelling story line with undertones of contemporary issues, readers of any age will find this action novel worthwhile. CV
Fay Jones was born with a love of literature, which was finely shored up throughout her early years by her parents & a beloved children’s librarian who wore the thickest glasses ever manufactured. Ms. Jones once won a coupon for a free ice cream cone after her suggestion for a name for the local Reading Is Fundamental mascot was selected.