Review of: Vacuum County
Every once in a while you read a book that grabs ahold of your soul and takes you on an unexpected journey. Recently I had the chance to preview a book, Vacuum County by author Aya Katz that not only surprised me, but also made my personal list of books I think a lot of people should be reading.
This fictional story is filled with assorted subplots, characters, and themes that encompass a cornucopia filled with American small town life realities and hidden truths that are not only relevant and timely to history past, but also living breathing history that a lot of us may vaguely realize is happening every day, but haven’t yet managed to connect the dots, or just are simply too overwhelmed in living our own lives to notice and be alarmed at the implications for all of us.
Vacuum County takes you into a story line that is intricate and multi-layered. It’s a feast of messages and themes, such as: Allegiance; dependency, co-dependency, and interdependence; self-confidence; destiny, mankind’s connection to the land owned, grubby little secrets about ol’ boy politics, small-town life where everyone knows everyone, and everyone’s business; real truth and especially the real truth about justice and what defines democracy.
Over the last few years I’ve read numerous articles and other books by Aya Katz, who as an author commands an ever present unique perspective for the reader, which is something not always on the average reader’s radar. In Vacuum County, her writing style is so perfected that I found myself savoring nuances, subtle undertones of characterizations and memorizing phrases that just thrilled my heart. I found a taste of each chapter in this book leaving me with a thirst to drink in more of the main plot. All of that made me just want more and prompted me to read the book straight through just to know how all the characters and storylines ended.
Expertly crafted, this tale about a college student stranded in a small town and embroiled in an impossible situation that she cannot extract herself from, will leave you wondering how a simple flat tire and the uninvited attentions of a would-be rescuer, who is beyond the reach of the law, could really happen. Then, you realize this kind of story does and still can happen in real life. Before the main character knows what’s happening she finds herself arrested and sentenced to life in a small town, with little chance of paying off her so-called debt to society.
What I loved the most is that behind the scenes of this modern day story, there is a hidden history seldom told in our American history textbooks - simply because history is written by those who conquer and choose to white-wash what really happened to wash the stain of their own wrong doings for future generations. Not only was the fiction of Vacuum County totally captivating, but the real history behind much of it was a complete breath of fresh air for readers like myself, who are often bored with much of what is on the market today. It is my hope that as more people discover Vacuum County, that they will enjoy it so much that they will clamor for knowing more about what happened next to the characters, and perhaps we will twist the author’s arm to write a sequel.
Beyond that, I hope reading Vacuum County by Aya Katz will inspire readers to want to know more about Texas history, the loss of freedoms quietly disappearing in this country, small town politics, who was Cabeza de Vaca, and what really happened at Mt. Carmel in Waco, Texas nearly twenty years ago, and so much more embodied in a romantic tale of a heroic girl named Verity.