Skip to main content

Little Wrecks

Review

Little Wrecks

Meredith Miller’s debut novel, LITTLE WRECKS, is a compelling tale filled with mystery and intrigue. The story is set in Long Island, New York, and takes place shortly after the Vietnam War, which allows the novel to exude a vintage appeal.

Miller’s story follows three high school seniors: Magda, Ruth and Isabel. All three girls are anxious to leave their confining small town and finally escape their pain-filled childhoods. Ruth lives with her hippie mother and her mother’s accompanying endless stream of boyfriends. Magda is the glue holding the scraps of her dysfunctional family together. Her mom ran off to Mexico years ago leaving her with an abusive father and an innocent younger brother. Isabel has seemingly the best life of the main three. She lives on the right side of the tracks and both of her parents are still around. However, under the surface, Isabel’s life is anything but perfect. Her father is consumed with caring for her mentally ill mother; as a result, Isabel is left out of the picture. All three girls are running from what they believe is a hopeless, desolate, future.

"LITTLE WRECKS is a unique novel in that it is almost entirely abstract....I found this book to be a hard read but I would recommend it to readers who enjoy abstract works or novels with a dramatic flair."

The only bright aspects in their lives are each other and one sacred ritual. When the stress of their small town life becomes overwhelming they take refuge in burning possessions that inflict pain. Unfortunately, even the calming effect of the flames can no longer satiate their desire to leave their current lives behind. Out of desperation, they devise a plan to steal weed from Ruth’s family friend, sell the stash and use the money to escape.

For once, fate is in the girls’ favor. The heist goes off without a hitch and the girls are ecstatic. Unfortunately, their success climaxes here. They can't sell the stash without revealing their criminal natures and to top it off each girl has her own individual demons to conquer. Magda is dealing with a new love interest who is more poisonous than beneficial. Isabel is grief stricken after an act of revenge, and she can't keep a steady boyfriend. Ruth’s struggles are endless. She’s dealing with the fallout from a one night stand, she can't stand her mother’s latest boyfriend and she hasn't slept in weeks. As the tension and anxiety build, the three heroines desperately attempt to keep their friendship and their sanity alive.

LITTLE WRECKS is a unique novel in that it is almost entirely abstract. Most of the writing is symbolic rather than plot-driven. While some readers may enjoy this technique, I personally did not. I found it difficult to root for the three heroines because no concrete back-story was provided. Additionally, the flow of the entire novel was off. The sentences didn't connect well, which inhibited my ability to become engrossed in the story. Finally, the point of view often switched between the three girls with little warning. At times, it was almost impossible to understand whose thoughts or ideas were being expressed. Overall, I found this book to be a hard read but I would recommend it to readers who enjoy abstract works or novels with a dramatic flair.

Reviewed by Emily G., Teen Board Member on August 17, 2017

Little Wrecks
by Meredith Miller