This book was received as part of The Bookish Box subscription box for May.
Does everybody remember my critique of The Hate U Give from last week where I said it was a good story but it seemed to want to cram in every possible aspect of the African American woman’s experience all into one book so it made the story seem…less? Grit does the same thing, only it’s gratuitously slamming in all the touchstones of a life in Maine. I get it, because I grew up in rural Maine. The references are not lost on me. But for someone who has never been to Maine or who has only been a tourist, there are a lot of things in this book that will fly right over their heads. I worry about this being too much of a niche read, but it has some saving graces.
The main character Darcy, her sister Mags, and her cousin Nell all are raking blueberries in the summer in Maine. We also have a small town beauty pageant that Nell is excited about but Darcy has been unwillingly nominated into. There is a mystery too, a girl went missing in the previous blueberry season and she has not been found. The story begins to allude to Darcy protecting something Nell has done, and with Nell being portrayed as “slow,” it begins to have a bit of an Of Mice and Men feeling, although not quite to that extreme. My mind couldn’t decide what I cared about: the disappearance, Darcy trying to be the top raker in the blueberry fields, the beauty pageant, the mysterious disappearance, the really obvious tension between townies and the immigrant workers (yes immigrant workers make it to Maine, mostly for blueberries or potatoes way up north), or the incessant reminders of home.
This is a cute book, but it’s also one of those books that tries too hard. There’s too much going on here. Despite that, it really is a nice book and if you’re looking for a quick easy read, take a trip into Grit and take a peek into a mystery in Maine.