This novel is "a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty." It's gritty and raw, from its f-word filled prose to its tough-to-read dog fighting scenes. While I had the most sympathy for Esch and her struggles, I actually liked Randall and their friend, Big Henry, the best. Skeetah was equal parts likeable and frustrating. All of Ward's characters though felt very genuine and real. Overall, while good, this is not an easy book to read. At times it feels like a punch in the gut. Which made it hard for me to love it, or even like it that much. But I will definitely never forget it.