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Fifth Born: A Novel

Odessais the fifth of what will eventually be eight children in the highlydysfunctional Blackburn family. She is three years old when her grandmotherdies and the last shred of joy goes out of her life. The Blackburns have familyties both in a small town in Mississippi, their place of origin, and in St.Louis, where many family members have journeyed in the mostly fruitless hope offinding a better life. Their father drinks too much and terrorizes the childrenwith his boundless, violent temper. Their mother is an ineffectual woman whomakes up stories to explain away injuries and mishaps, stories that become partof family lore and skew the reality of their lives. After her mother, Odessatakes the brunt of much of the brutality, ever shrinking inside herself untilshe slowly learns the long-held family secrets that underlie the violence.Lockhart's first novel is evocative of Toni Morrison's “Bluest Eye" in itssensitive portrayal of a young girl trapped in family violence, damaged bybrutality, and longing for love. 



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Book | by Dr. Radut