Hope Burned – by Brent LaPorte
Was, in a word, disturbing.
Suffering years of abuse by his father and grandfather on a farm in rural anywhere, the story of Hope Burned spends a considerable time living and reliving the mental and physical abuse of the main character at the hands of these uneducated hicks. LaPorte instills an immediate sense of compassion for the boy, as the reader experiences each brutal attack in the unnerving first person telling.
Though what happens to the main character is unforgivable, what happens to the young victims his grandfather brings back from town and imprisons in their Mill is much worse. The boy, rarely out of his crawl space save to cook or work the fields, catches the eye of one young girl as his grandfather drags her towards the Mill, towards her unspeakable fate.
As the story unfolds, and the boy grows up independently of his captors, he finds that he shares more in common with his father and grandfather than just his lineage. As he looks at his own young son, retelling the story of his life, he makes a stark realization, and the story goes where you’d least expect it.
LaPorte’s deliberate, short prose is captivating, and as with any good first person narrative, you can tell the author was living the story as it developed.
By Michael Poeltl