The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

Book - 2015
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Grand Central Pub
"A marvelous debut...has everything a big, thick novel should have, and I hated to put it down." - John Grisham

"A page-turner." - New York Times Book Review

For readers of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, this is a dramatic and deeply moving novel about an act of violence in a small Appalachian town and the repercussions that will forever change a young man's view of human cruelty and compassion.


After seeing the death of his younger brother in a terrible home accident, fourteen-year-old Kevin and his grieving mother are sent for the summer to live with Kevin's grandfather. In this town of Medgar, Kentucky, a peeled-paint coal town deep in Appalachia, Kevin quickly falls in with a half-wild hollow kid named Buzzy Fink who schools him in the mysteries and magnificence of the woods.

The town is beset by a massive mountaintop removal operation that is blowing up the hills and back filling the hollows. Kevin's grandfather and others in town attempt to rally the citizens against the "company" and its powerful owner to stop the plunder of their mountain heritage. But when Buzzy witnesses a brutal hate crime, a sequence is set in play that will test Buzzy and Kevin to their absolute limits in an epic struggle for survival in the Kentucky mountains.

*Includes Reading Group Guide*

Baker & Taylor
Witnessing his younger brother's accidental death, teenaged Kevin spends the summer traumatized in his grandfather's Appalachia coal-mining community, which is fighting plans for a massive mountaintop-removal operation. 100,000 first printing.

Baker
& Taylor

Witnessing his younger brother's accidental death, teenaged Kevin spends the summer traumatized in his grandfather's Appalachia coal-mining community, which is fighting plans for a massive mountaintop-removal operation.
"After witnessing the death of his younger brother in a terrible home accident, 14-year-old Kevin and his grieving mother are sent for the summer to live with Kevin's grandfather. In this peeled-paint coal town deep in Appalachia, Kevin quickly falls in with a half-wild hollow kid named Buzzy Fink who schools him in the mysteries and magnificence of the woods. The events of this fateful summer will affect the entire town of Medgar, Kentucky. Medgar is beset by a massive Mountaintop Removal operation that is blowing up the hills and back filling the hollows. Kevin's grandfather and others in town attempt to rally the citizens against the 'company' and its powerful owner to stop the plunder of their mountain heritage. When Buzzy witnesses the brutal murder of the opposition leader, a sequence is set in play which tests Buzzy and Kevin to their absolute limits in an epic struggle for survival in the Kentucky mountains. Redemptive and emotionally resonant, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth is narrated by an adult Kevin looking back on the summer when he sloughed the coverings of a boy and took his first faltering steps as a man among a rich cast of characters and an ambitious effort to reclaim a once great community"--

Publisher: New York : Grand Central Publishing, c2015
ISBN: 9781455551927
Branch Call Number: FIC SCO
Characteristics: 468 p. ;,24 cm.

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p
pennys54
Jul 29, 2019

Lovely book. Not soppy or sappy. Didn’t want it to end

w
whatcomhillwalker
Feb 26, 2019

Not the book I expected. You know the old saw 'don't judge a book' thing. I thought I was diving into something a bit mystical with that title but got something entirely different. Not a bad story, told fairly well but I kept feeling like it was a way different book than what the other reviewers read. On the cover John Hart says something about 'Atticus Finch meets Deliverence." Hit that one way out of the hyperbole ball park. Still, not a bad read though.

h
Havanacat
Feb 04, 2019

People. Love, loss, and the connective tissue that joins us to each other and the earth.

Librarian_Deb Jan 02, 2018

I easily got caught up in this story, especially the last part when the main character, 14 year old Kevin, has to pull of an amazing feat of survival and grit to save the lives of him, his grandfather, and his best friend. It starts out sedately enough - Kevin and his mother are staying with his grandfather - "Pops" - for the summer in an attempt to help his mother recover after the death of Kevin's younger brother. At first the reader doesn't know how Kevin's brother died and waiting for that secret to be revealed does build some nice tension early in the story. Even though Kevin is burdened by this secret he is also soon enjoying the more rural environment of his Grandfather's small community, and soon makes a best friend named Buzzy Fink. He and Buzzy have several adventures together, adventures where Kevin learns about the secrets of woods and mudholes and caves. Kevin also learns much from Pops about the character and relationships between the residents of the close knit community, as Kevin starts helping Pops with his work at a veterinarian. We soon learn that a local mining outfit is tearing up the area by "mountain top mining" - basically blasting off the tops of mountains to get the very last bit of coal out of them. Pops is strongly against this environmental travesty, a stance that sets him against some of the powerful men in the community. Pop's enemies, local bullies, and teenagers up to mischief create several tense moments in the book - but it all comes to a dramatic head when Pops, Kevin and Buzzy set off on a trek through the mountains near the end of the summer. They think they can escape into nature and leave their troubles behind for a while - but trouble finds them in a most dramatic and exciting series of events.
Kevin's feats near the end seemed of near mythical proportions, but it make for a very satisfying ending. For a good man versus nature and man versus man adventure it was quite thrilling. I also got emotionally drawn into the different residents of the town and their conflicts. I'd definitely recommend this read.

m
MissBiz
Mar 18, 2015

A well told story about caring for others and growing up.

g
gogograndma
Feb 14, 2015

Loved the story from the beginning, but somewhere towards the middle, I felt the story dragging. Never quite grabbed me again.

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