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I don’t know about everyone else but all these small-town-stories are starting to give me a headache. One of those headaches you get when you’ve got too much disappointment stuck inside you. In my strongest opinion, nothing is more depressing than living out in the middle of nowhere, on a farm, with nothing to do, no one to see, and no where to go shopping. Rash does a brilliant job showing this in each one of his stories. These people live in boring, barren, and ridiculously lonely locations. Rash is out to show us the stories behind the effects of living in the country.

This is the first book in Burning Bright in which the main character is not immediately introduced to us in the first paragraph. Instead, it is the fire that is the subject of the first sentence. Does Rash intend for the fire to act as the main personality of the story? If so, I believe it could have been more effectively done. I don’t want this story to be about the fire, and I don’t want this story to even be about Marcie. I wanted it to be about Carl.

What an interesting fellow has been drawn up by Rash. It breaks my heart the way he is implemented into the story, however, his role is the most effective of the story. First you meet the fire, then you meet poor old Marcie, then you meet Arthur, and then, finally, Carl shows up. His first appearance to fix stuff up for Marcie, is no less the sweetest thing. Later in the story, as Marcie’s relationship with Carl is described, the reader falls even further in his favor. I mean if the passage on page 115 which includes, It was as though his long silences made him better able to communicate in other ways, doesn’t make your heart do a little extra fluttering about the strangely appealing mystery of Carl, than you’re feelings must be missing. The way Rash forces us to be on Carl’s team, and then throws Carl under the bus as the possible arsonist is a seriously interesting tactic. It makes me question myself. You know, how could I have been an advocate of this possible psychopath? Very cool.

Another trait of this story that must have been a deliberate decision was the lack of use of quotations in certain situations. For example, during the teacher’s dialogue on pages 110-111. I believe that describing the dialogue in an appositive phrase and letting it blend in with the rest of the story is a good way to keep the reader engaged in the thoughts of the narrator. It is less choppy and easier to read. It blends together the thoughts of the narrator and the speaker and makes you wonder if the words were even directly quoted correctly. I haven’t really seen dialogue written like this before, but I approve.

Overall the dynamic of the story is unlike that of the others in the book. I am a fan of Rash’s writing as it always uses little details to explain exactly how each character is. He creates pain without directly telling you the feel it. He personifies each character through their actions, and locations. These factors make each and every one of his stories, honest and believable.

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