This book deserves high marks for its lyrical style, touching and relevant story and dynamic character conflicts.
In a nutshell, the story involves a coming of age for M.C.: there is conflict between old ways (e.g. superstitions/prejudices; regional culture vs. hopes for escape; father vs. son); there is a unique romantic subplot and an unusual, haunting friendship.
All in all, M.C. Higgins, the Great is a highly rewarding read for both adults and older kids.
From the back cover: Mayo Cornelius Higgins sits on his gleaming, forty foot steel pole, towering over his home on Sarah's Mountain. Stretched before him are rolling hills and shady valleys. But behind him lie the wounds of strip mining, including a mountain of rubble that may one day fall and bury his home.