My heart nearly broke for Shawna, right from the start of the story. Sixteen years old, abandoned, left to roam the streets of Las Vegas, Nevada and make her way in the world. What kind of mother would do such a thing? What kind of mother could do such a thing to her own child?
Thankfully, Shawna’s mother left her a small bit of cash and a phone number – for a grandmother she never knew, of all things. (Did I really just write “thankfully” when describing this mother?) Shawna was not without choices, and lucky for her, she made the right ones. It didn’t take long for her to end up at her grandmother’s horse ranch near Sacramento, California.
The transition wasn’t easy, especially since Shawna had more than a little baggage and head trash to deal with. She was self-sufficient, independent, strong willed and emotionally, let’s just say she was one tough survivor, given the circumstances, abuses and traumas she was subject to throughout her lifetime.
As if teenage years aren’t hard enough on kids, Shawna, a street kid, her mother’s caretaker and their less than law abiding, meal ticket lifestyle, is suddenly dealing with culture shock when she realizes how “real people” actually live, by choosing to make contact and live with her grandmother.
From this point on, Sliding on the Edge rapidly becomes a story of second chances. Shawna has a second chance. Her grandmother has a second chance. Kenny the ranch hand was given a second chance. Even most of the animals on the ranch were given second chances. One of the few people in the story who isn’t given a second chance is Jackie, Shawna’s mother. Somehow this feels like justice, because of everything she’s put poor Shawna through.
I really enjoyed reading Sliding on the Edge, because it’s a good story with a solid plot, enough twists and turns to keep you turning the page, but not so fast you have to back-track and reread what you just read all the time. This brings to mind a few of the flashback scenes. They were good. Please don’t misunderstand me here. It’s just that I’d already read those lines in a few of them, so to have them restated and practically quoted from a different character’s point of view seemed redundant at times. I understand why Lee wrote the story this way, for clarity, but I feel it was a bit too much at times. It’s a very minor offense, considering how much I enjoyed the story.
Sliding on the Edge by C. Lee McKenzie is definitely being added to my Recommended Reading page. It’s a book I’m sure many people will enjoy reading and learn a lot from too.
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