Lacy Dawn Hickman is a young girl who lives in an isolated community in the Hollow. She is part of a dysfunctional family; Jenny, a mother who has sacrificed her dreams for her family, and Duane, a father suffering from combat-related PTSD. Lacy’s only friend, Faith, was killed by her abusive father, and her spirit now inhabits trees and rocks around Lacy’s house; trees by the way, that Lacy can communicate with. As you might have surmised at this point, Lacy Dawn is a ‘special’ child. She not only talks to trees, but she communicates with her dog, and has a guardian, a naked alien known only as DotCom, whose mission is to guard and guide Lacy to her destiny—saving the universe.
Rarity From the Hollow by Robert Eggleton is a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must save DotCom’s home planet from in infestation of sentient roaches. At the same time, she must cure her dysfunctional family so that she and her mother no longer have to suffer Duane’s switchings, and no more girls like Faith are bludgeoned to death.
The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them. In fact, the rustic humor and often graphic language employed by Lacy Dawn and her compatriots only serve to highlight their desperate lives, and their essential toughness and resilience.
From the simplistic, almost primitive, art of the cover, to the rough education of the protagonists, Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate.
There are only a few things to mar an otherwise perfect book. A few places where words are omitted, the fact that characters’ thoughts are not highlighted, and having every character in the Hollow using the term ‘mommy’ rather than the expected ‘ma,’ which was a bit jarring in the early chapters, but by the halfway point was funny. Other than the five or six cases of missing words or typos, it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy. I give it four and a half stars.