Federation Book Club Reads Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
We missed one of our members at our last Zoom gathering, but she wrote this:
“In my opinion the book is masterfully written. Kingsolver uses the vernacular voice in a very credible way. It made for slower, careful reading to make sure I understood the meaning; but it made it that much more authentic. It also added another depth and reality to the opiate crisis. Very difficult to ‘rise above your raising.’”
For those of you noticing the title’s similarity to David Copperfield, you’re right. It’s deliberately a contemporary rendition of that Charles Dickens classic. Full of exaggerated characters, parallel plotlines, and similar names (such as Mr. Dick/Brother Dick, Mr. McCobb/Micawber, Agnes/Angus, Dora/Dori, and Tommy), one reader was grateful for having previously read the original since Demon Copperhead is a difficult book. Both reflect the timeless failure of social services for protecting those in foster homes. Taking advantage of alcoholism (anyone remember Uriah Heep?) is the model for Demon Copperhead’s ongoing theme of drug addiction starting in childhood.
Satisfyingly full of memorable characters and redemptive resolutions, one member pointed out that the novel “stretched out reality too far, making more of an allegory.” Isn’t that what Dickens did so well? She added that a well-depicted story taking place in Appalachia is “helpful for the country as a whole. We need to learn about pockets of the population different from ourselves.”
Upcoming Schedule and Books—All Subject to Change:
January 4, 2024: Death at Greenway, by Lori Rader-Day
February 1: Sailing at the Edge of Disaster, by Elizabeth Garber: with AUTHOR on Zoom
The Jewish Federation Book Club meets via Zoom at 4 PM on the first Thursdays of every month. If you’re interested in joining or learning more about future titles on our list, please visit TheJewishFed.org/Books.