Pub Date: 3/19/2012
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I first decided to read Glow because of its intriguing historical context and setting. I hadn’t come across many books that had a main character of African, Scot-Irish and Cherokee decent (two of which I also have in my blood). The element of Glow that stood out the most for me was the beautiful and elegant writing. The very words that Tuccelli chose are wonderful and the way she looped them together to create imaginative and tantalizing prose is in itself masterful. I also greatly admire the dialogue between her various characters. The lines never seemed forced and sounded like snippets of real conversations. Many of the characters were also very engaging and life-like.
However, despite the beautiful prose and grasping characters, Glow did lack a few key literary elements. First off, the tempo of the book often wained, keeping me from turning the pages as swiftly as I would have liked. The story of Glow is told from three different generations of characters so the story often bops back and forth through time. Although it is often very interesting to learn a bit about other characters, sometimes the momentum was lost when Tuccelli switched to someone else’s story. I often felt that one narrative was just getting going when suddenly it would end and someone else’s would begin bringing the tempo back to a crawl. The writing was also not always consistent. In one part of the book two friends were separated as one of them was freed from slavery and the other kept on the plantation. Yet despite that separation, the friend on the plantation suddenly pops up back into the narrative of the freed friend without a scene of reunion. I was left completely confused. I was also confused as to the main point of this novel. I thought the reason for the interlocking narrative would be revealed but it never really was. Was it all just a character study of one family? There is nothing wrong with one long family history lesson but if that was the point of the book I wish it had been made a bit more clear. Especially since some of the narratives seemed rather pointless and didn’t seem to bring anything new to the story. There were also a few characters and topics I wish Tuccelli had explored more, such as how the Cherokee family living in Georgia escaped the Trail of Tears. That in itself would have been an intriguing story. However, I may be being too picky with that one.
Overall, Glow was a beautifully written novel that bought to life three generations of a family and a time in history long gone.
Memorable or Forgettable: Glow will be a memorable read because of the beautiful prose and great web of characters. Tuccelli did a great job of weaving together a family history and making her characters come alive. Although there are narratives that are forgettable there are also a wealth of others that are so real they bring the story to life.
Cover: The cover is welcoming enough; a broad view of a bright blue sky over a lush green land with the silhouette of a girl beneath the title. The cover is simple but engaging however the title seems to lack something. I see where Tuccelli got her title but I don’t believe that it is a good summation of the story in general. Even when I was reading the novel I had a hard time remembering the title because it didn’t really seem to fit.
Age Range: 12 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Additional Comments text: If Tuccelli had made just a few more changes I believe this book could have been a real masterpiece.