Crown, 320 pages, $25
“Freedom’s Child” is a wild ride by debut author Jax Miller. Her main character, Freedom Oliver, is unique, her persona like quicksilver, her flaws and strengths many, her determination the backbone of this book.
Although Freedom made the choices that eventually led to her dead-end job in a biker bar in Nowheresville, Oregon, her dreams are haunted and her mind disheveled by the repercussions.
It’s hard to know how much to reveal about Freedom’s back story. I guess it should be a revelation to you as it was to me, so let me talk obliquely about the book.
Someone is out to kill Freedom. Someone is out to harm people Freedom loves. Fueled by guilt, alcohol, a kick-ass mentality, and nothing to lose, Freedom decides to get back at him/her/them. If you are used to reading about protagonists who are decent, chill and proficient dudes and dudettes, Freedom mostly lives outside those boundaries. But she has a soft side. It is seen, for instance, in her relationship with Mimi, her neighbor with Alzheimer’s, over whom she watches when she can, including keeping Mimi from burning down their apartment building when she forgets a pot on the stove.
Eventually, Freedom takes to the road (thus, the relevancy of the picture of a motorcycle on the book’s jacket cover) to regain her life and redeem her decisions.
“Freedom’s Child” is a tear-jerker without being maudlin, sentimental without being mawkish, philosophical without being condescending.
Is it too late for another 2015 MBTB star?