Rarity from the Hollow is subtitled A Children’s Story. For Adults. The author, Robert Eggleton, writes with the accuracy of familiarity about the lives of children caught in a multi-generational cycle of abuse; of men scarred by war and poverty, of PTSD, of the coping mechanisms of wives and mothers trying to hold families together.
The opening scenes of this book are difficult to read and harrowing in their blunt depiction of the kinds of abuse that Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, and her friend Faith experience. As Lacy Dawn narrates the story, elements of fantasy begin to develop, fantasy that then changes to a coherent, but oddly detached story of extra-terrestrial (and human) intervention. The extra-terrestrial intervention addresses primarily the psychological and behavioural issues confronting Lacy Dawn’s family; the human intervention – of a type beyond (or above?) the law, in a renegade Gates Foundation way – provides employment and support.
The book could be read, I think, as pure fantasy, revealing Lacy Dawn’s imagined escape from the cruel realities of her life, or, as a satire on the hurdles faced by agencies or individuals attempting to intervene in the lives of families caught in the vicious cycle of abuse. Or, perhaps, a combination of the two. I lean toward the latter. In either case, it is not a particularly easy or enjoyable read, the reality of the described lives always in the back of the reader’s mind, emphasizing the unreality of the unfolding events. A strong element of sexuality, realistic but disturbing given the age of the protagonist, remains throughout the story. But it stands in good company: I can think of other disturbing satires that have been difficult to read, but carry a strong message: A Clockwork Orange, for one.
This is not a book for children, or even for teens, and it is not a book for those who are looking for escapist fantasy. Rarity from the Hollow pulls no punches: even though some passages are very funny, it is unlikely to be those the reader remembers. It’s also a book you’ll likely need to take breathing spaces from. But I remain glad I was offered it to review. I’m giving Rarity from the Hollow four stars.
All proceeds from the book have been donated to a child abuse prevention program.