I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.Dig by A.S. King
Published by Penguin on March 26, 2019
Genres: Young Adult
The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family's maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being simple Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account, wealth they've declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grand children.
"Because we want them to thrive," Marla always says.
What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby's drive-thru window. Like a first class ticket to Jamiaca between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a doublewide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest.
As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings precious white suburban respectability begins to spread, the far flung grand children gradually find their ways back to each other, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.
I haven’t read all of A.S. King’s books, but I have read enough to see that although they are all very different, there is a similar feel to then, as well. I expect to feel the story deeply, and with Dig that was certainly the case. It’s a dark book, overall, and a story that reaches across generations and kind of shows you the worst of people. However, it is done is such a way that even though you really hate some of the characters, you really can’t look away, either. It was a bit of a roller coaster and I felt a little drained after I read and it stayed with me for days, which is always the sign of a good book.
Dig makes you ask a lot of questions and it shines a light on things like white privilege, racism, and abuse. People suffer because their parents suffered and their parents suffered. I will say that it was a little confusing at times, but the story rights itself by the end and is even, dare I say, hopeful. It’s a story that’s hard to explain except to say that, in the end, we are all trying to dig out of the shit that our families, ancestors, and even society puts on us. But it’s possible to reach air and the kids are going to save us all.