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Book Review of Cavedweller

Author: Dorothy Allison
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
alleigh avatar reviewed on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

Cavedweller tells the story of a mother and her three daughters living in Cayro, Georgia. The mother, Delia, ran away from Georgia to escape her abusive husband, which also meant leaving her two daughters, Amanda and Dede, behind. In the 10 years that she as away, Delia built a new life for herself in Los Angeles, which including joining a band, becoming a famous singer/songwriter, and having a third daughter, Cissy. However, even though she saved herself from the abuse, Delia was overwhelmed with the need to go back to Georgia, reclaim her daughters, and make a life of her own.

When Delia returns to the small town with Cissy, the situation she left behind has changed, but her problems are not resolved. Amanda and Dede harbor a significant amount of resentment because they were abandoned, as does the rest of Cayro, but Delia is determined to win back their love and her rights as a mother, regardless of how the town feels about her decisions. Dorothy Allison does a wonderful job explaining the complicated motivations of each character and the inner turmoil that each decision creates, so the reader is always left wondering who s/he would do in each characters place.

The book is extremely well-written, and the plot is very engaging. Allison successfully carries the reader through the lives of these four women. However, unlike in The Bastard Out of Carolina where the reader cant help but wince at the physical and emotional pain that is inflicted upon the main character, Allison doesnt actual make the reader feel the suffering and the struggle that each character experiences, so there is always a feeling of wanting more. It is a flaw that keeps the reader from becoming fully lost the powerful story, but not enough of a problem to make the novel unenjoyable.