Book Reviews of Coal Run

Coal Run
Coal Run
Author: Tawni O'Dell
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ISBN-13: 9780451215123
ISBN-10: 0451215125
Publication Date: 6/7/2005
Pages: 363
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 32 ratings
Publisher: NAL Trade
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

14 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Coal Run on + 103 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I can't believe I hesitated to order this book (It's not the genre I normally read), because this is, by far, one of the BEST books I have ever read. A powerful story of a family and community in a Pennsylvania mining town. Loved this author's style of writing so much that I went and ordered the two other novels she's written. Tawni O'Dell has you laughing, crying, and feeling as though you know each and every character personally. An awesome story. I couldn't put this one down!!!
reviewed Coal Run on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
A riveting novel of rural America and family tragedy. This takes place in the coal mining country of Western Pennsylania. In a town haunted by a deadly mine explosian 3 decades earlier, Ivan, the local
deputy and football legend, spends a week preparing for a former
teammate's release from prison. There is a rich cast of characters.
This is an absorbing novel about letting go of the goals of greatness
for the ordinary grace of hard work, family ties and an acceptance of
where you are from.
I loved this book!
reviewed Coal Run on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
O'Dell (Back Roads) explores the dynamics of a tiny Pennsylvania coal-mining town in her probing, heartbreaking second novel, which centers on the fortunes of former college football hero Ivan Zoschenko. The novel literally opens with a bang in a flashback that recalls the tragic underground explosion that took the life of Zoschenko's father and killed 96 other men from Coal Run. Some 15 years later, just after Zoschenko is drafted by the Chicago Bears, his knee is crushed in an accident in the same mines. His subsequent fall from grace is long and hard; he moves to Florida, hits the bars and works as an exterminator. He returns home only when he hears that Reese Raynor, a former schoolmate who beat his wife, Crystal, into a coma, is being released from prison. Despite his drinking problem, Zoschenko is hired as a deputy by the local sheriff, getting back in touch with his gorgeous sister, a single mom and career waitress; his boyhood hero, now a reclusive Vietnam vet; Reese's troubled twin brother, Jesse; and Crystal, who is still comatose and reminds Zoschenko of a shameful incident in his past. That past is linked to Reese Raynor's, and the novel builds to the inevitable brutal collision of the two men. O'Dell's portrait of Zoschenko is deep and penetrating, but even more moving is her portrayal of the coal-town community. Ravaged by disaster and callous corporate treatment, the citizens of Coal Run still can't imagine any other life. As Zoschenko puts it, "Long before [the mine] became the site of so much death, it had been a source of life for all of us. For me it was the closest thing I had to God." Though it occasionally flirts with sentimentality, this is a fierce, sharply drawn and richly sympathetic tribute to working-class America.
reviewed Coal Run on + 468 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I've become a fan of Tawni O'Dell. Beautiful writing, wonderful and disturbing story, exceptional character development and terrific narration by Daniel Passer. Looking forward to reading Back Roads and Sister Mine. Highly recommend.
reviewed Coal Run on + 636 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this one quite a bit - just as much as her first, _Back Roads_, I think. It was a more straightforward story in a lot of ways. The narrator wasn't quite as charming as Harley, but the whole cast of characters was richer than _Back Roads_. There were some overlapping descriptions of the area, but that probably wouldn't even be noticeable had I not read them back-to-back. Dr. Morrison's character was really the first character of hers that I didn't like all that much. She just sort of bothered me and didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense, really. Despite this, I really enjoyed this book and I will definitely keep an eye out for her future books!
reviewed Coal Run on + 5 more book reviews
The character development in this is really good; the story lends itself to a sequel.
reviewed Coal Run on + 96 more book reviews
This was an excellent book. It takes place in western Pennsylvania, which is where I live. The characters were blue collar workers, just trying to live their lives with the circumstances they were dealt. I didn't know how things were going to turn out, but it made me feel good.
reviewed Coal Run on + 119 more book reviews
Wonderful book. Tami O'Dell is right on the money with this book. Coal Run deals with Ivan Z., a small town football hero that blows his knee, runins his football career, and comes home again after 16 years. He trys to deal with his fall from grace and his heroic efforts to recifiy the past. I couldn't put this book down.
reviewed Coal Run on + 44 more book reviews
Great Book
reviewed Coal Run on + 25 more book reviews
Very good story. You wont want to put it down until you're done.
reviewed Coal Run on + 686 more book reviews
After listening to this on CD, I found the narrator's voice to be annoying, the storyline to be depressing and biased and really didn't like the book much. Filled with sprots legends, coal miners and corrupt cops, this story dipicted, in my opinion, the coal region lifestyle to be that of a backwoods hillbilly. I was not impressed.
reviewed Coal Run on
Interesting story but the main character is not fully explored. He obviously has problems but it seems we never really understand how one set of problems leads to another.
reviewed Coal Run on + 686 more book reviews
I listened to this on CD and I think it would have been better to read it, the narrator had the most boring voice in the world! The story was ok, to me it depicted folks from that area (which includes myself) as backroads hicks and not worth much of anything, but I am sure that it was less the area as it was the family and town in this area. In any case, I may have come with a better attitude toward it.
reviewed Coal Run on + 342 more book reviews
A powerful novel set in a coal-mining Pennsylvania town that begins with the riveting telling of the collapse of the town mine and loss of most of the local men.
The story centers around a local boy once about to become a football legend until halted by an accident on the field, who wanders through life until one day he hears that Reese Raynor, a man who beat his wife into a permanent coma, is about to be released from prison. He returns to his hometown and is hired by the sheriff's department, with the intention of thwarting the release, or worse.

What follows is the story of mostly two families, told over the course of a week. The characters are rich, the setting alive, the plot well-drawn. A tense, complex story that I highly recommend.