Friday, September 28, 2012
"Moody River, your muddy water took my baby's life." Song lyrics
The story opens with two teenagers fishing with one of the teens father and the man's brother. They come across a body which turns out to be another teenager who was a friend of these teens. May Lynn was age sixteen and murdered.
The central character and narrator, Sue Ellen, lives by the river with no communications to the outside world and few friends. However, the two close friends she does have, Jinx, a sixteen-year-old colored girl, and Terry, the same age, decide to make May Lynn's wish come true. She was beautiful and dreamed of going to Hollywood.
The three teens dig her body up, cremate her and place her ashes in a jar. While they are digging up May Lynn, they find something that was hidden in a grave. Sue Ellen's brother was a robber and must be where he hid something.
The beauty of the writing is with the characters who are very memorable and with the story and its pain.
The three teenagers try to travel down the Sabine River to get to a town with a bus stop so they could travel to Hollywood. Their travels reminded me of two of the great stories that had a similar theme.
In "Lonesome Dove," Captain Gus McCrae is dying from gangrene poisoning. He persuades his best friend, Captain Woodrow Call, to bring his body back to a place on the San Antonio River where Gus had the happiest moments of his life.
In "Cold Mountain," after being released as a Confederate prisoner, Inman sets out on a search to find Ada through the mountains and back roads of the south.
Both stories as well as "Edge of Dark Water," have obstacles in the path of the travelers, it is the determination and the desire to do bring happiness to another, that keeps them going.
The concluding moments in "Edge of Dark Water," enable the reader to catch their breath and nod in agreement that this is the only way that the story could have ended.