BOOK REVIEW + 3 Book GIVE AWAY - Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond by Lis Anna-Langston
Literary Fiction / Memoir
Release Date: October 1, 2022
Publisher: Mapleton Press
A young girl in a small southern town in the 80’s enlists the help of an unlikely group of friends and family to help her survive an unconventional, sometimes abusive childhood. Often left in the care of a paranoid schizophrenic uncle who lives downstairs and a psychotic uncle upstairs, the narrator stacks up a few heartbreaking observations. When her mother abandons her in favor of her addictions, the girl goes to live with her grandmother but finds happiness cut short when her grandmother dies. Her uncle believes the voices in his head have trapped his mother in a basement across town and as he slowly looses grip on reality, he also looses his ability to take care of her. Taken to a Group Home to live until a case worker can find her a place to go, her mom’s ex shows up and is forced to make a choice.
Praise for Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond:
One child's vulnerability and resilience to forces beyond her control make a raw and colorful splash in this tenderhearted memoir.
-RECOMMENDED by the US Review
"Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond is highly recommended for fiction readers looking for coming-of-age and family narratives that are anything but ordinary and predictable. Its lively tone packs a punch."
- D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review
... I have to tell you that as I enjoyed this great book, I realized no 9 year old could have the thoughts or quick comebacks that Cotton does. Any kid that had to go through what Cotton did would become old way before their time. But in truth, this is mostly a story of Cotton telling about her life but living in the moment. Does that sound nuts? Well, whatever the technique, it worked. It made a story so very poignant that it touched my heart. Lis-Anna Langston created a character you will fall in love with and a book you'll be sad is over when you turn the last page.
- Our Town Book Reviews
Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond is the fictionalized memoir that will leave you astonished. Six-year-old Cotton is the main character, and this book is the heart-breaking yet hopeful story of a young girl navigating the world of drug addiction and mental illness.
Cotton’s father is absent, her mother is deep in the grips of drug addiction, and she lives for going to her grandmothers on the weekend. She loves her grandmother, and her house isn’t exactly a respite as her two uncles live there. Both hear voices. Unless Thurman is more unpredictable while Uncle Stand is kinder. The characters are brilliantly written and are what I would expect. The descriptions bring them to life and kept me intrigued, I wanted to know what they’d do next.
Cotton’s mother is neglectful and makes horrible decisions, at one point getting involved with Dave. Who is the most stable of her boyfriends but also a drug runner who drags them into it with him. Regardless, Cotton still loves her mom.
Written in Southern gothic style, this book is easy to read. While it deals with heavy topics, the author does a great job of treating mental illness with dignity and respect while using humor to add a lightness to the story. Cotton’s childhood clearly was not easy, but she made the best of it.
Overall, I highly recommend this humous coming of age story of survival amidst a hugely dysfunctional family.
Overall Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
About the Author
Lis Anna-Langston was raised along the winding current of the Mississippi River on a steady diet of dog-eared books. She attended a Creative and Performing Arts School from middle school until graduation and went on to study Literature at Webster University. Her two novels, Gobbledy and Tupelo Honey have won the Parents’ Choice Gold, Moonbeam Book Award, Independent Press Award, Benjamin Franklin Book Award and NYC Big Book Awards. Twice nominated for the Pushcart award and Finalist in the Brighthorse Book Prize, William Faulkner Fiction Contest and Thomas Wolfe Fiction Award, her work has been published in The Literary Review, Emerson Review, The Merrimack Review, Emrys Journal, The MacGuffin, Sand Hill Review and dozens of other literary journals. She draws badly, sings loudly, loves ketchup, starry skies & stories with happy aliens.
You can find her in the wilds of South Carolina plucking stories out of thin air.