Short Take: “In the Light,” S.P. Miskowski

Pros: Skillute is fascinating!
Cons:
Rating: 5 out of 5

I believe that S.P. Miskowski’s In the Light (Skillute Cycle) (Volume 4) falls after her Astoria and Knock Knock and before The Worst Is Yet to Come. (It’s not that it’s so complicated; I just have trouble with timelines.) I did not read them all in order yet I had no trouble taking each one separately. Obviously it’s going to be easiest to read them in order if you can, of course. In this installment of the books taking place in the town of Skillute, Washington, young Ruth is being bullied at school. While running away from her tormentors she stumbles across a baby’s remains buried in a toolbox.

Ruth is an interesting kid. Her mother, Michelle, obsesses over her weight–she even gives her specifically one-quarter of a grapefruit with her breakfast, and it’s a routine joke between her and Jeffrey, Ruth’s father, that couldn’t she at least have a half of a grapefruit? Yet somehow neither parent notices that Ruth doesn’t laugh at this joke. Her parents don’t seem like bad people; they’re dysfunctionally human. The characterization is wonderful and oh-so-believable.

Her parents were constantly revising and improving her childhood memories.

The story also picks up the tale of Henry and Alicia Colquitt, whom you may remember from Knock Knock. We find out more about Ethel’s husband Burt, Henry’s mother’s death, and the origin of the house with all the bird feeders that shows up in The Worst Is Yet to Come. Miskowski has a knack for writing about trapped women and what happens when they finally decide to break free, as well as the interactions between income level and social level in a rural area. I look forward to more Skillute stories!

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