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Utopia Texas

A book by Betty Byrd

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This is a good novel about mothers, daughters and mental illness.

  • Mar 14, 2011
Utopia Texas is a novel begins with a thought provoking passage by Ernest Hemingway. This passage is about how it takes a long time to learn the simplest of things. A person often pays a heavy cost to learn life's lessons. This thought lingered with me as I read this book Byrd follows this passage with an exciting visual image. An oil well explodes in Maracaibo Basin in Venezuela that leads to a fire. Betty Byrd establishes that oil drilling is a dangerous job in the prologue. The novel begins in the early years of World War II. I did not know that Americans were sent to rebuild oil refineries in various Asian countries. I like the brief history lesson Byrd provides here.

Texas is the perfect setting to drill for oil. It is the source of wealth for Byra Harrison. She is the main character who owns an oil company that has made her rich. The search for oil drives Byra to work hard and drill more. A sign of a talented writer is the ability to make the reader think. Byrd makes me think about the relationship between my own wealth and happiness while reading this book.

The novel centers around the relationship between a grandmother, mother and a grand daughter. The relationships between this women are difficult and painful. This is a fictional novel, but Byrd traces the roots of the dysfunction of her characters as if they were real people. Part of the fun of reading this book is learning how these women became dysfunctional. The dysfunction that both mother and daughter have is an inability to be nuturing parents. These women also have a tendency to repress painful memories. I enjoyed analyzing the psychological aspects in this book. Mental illness is suffered by Brya's daughter Olivia. Olivia's mental illness takes an emotional toll on Olivia's daughter Maggie. I am drawn into the lives of the women in this book because of the strong writing by Betty Byrd. This novel does not wrap everything up neatly, but I liked it very much.

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Robert Yokoyama ()
Ranked #39
I love to read new books and talk about them. I also like to listen to different kinds of music and talk about that. I am a friendly guy who likes to meet new people. I love to read books that teach me … more
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About this book


"According to Ermest Hemingway, 'A writer's style should be direct and personal, his imagery rich and earthy, and his words simple and vigorous.'

Betty Byrd has accomplished this and more in her intriguing follow-up to "Trinity's Daughter." Every family has dark secrets and colorful characters that spice up any gathering of clan, and can either rub you the wrong way or be a breath of fresh air. Some family members, however, can literally suck the oxygen out of a room faster than a wildcatter's worst nightmare.

"Utopia Texas" is a great summer read that explodes from page one with a hellish oil well blowout in Venezuela that grabs our attention and, like hot fingers of fire clenched around throats, squeezes every last drop of drama out of one family's journey along the teetering edge of madness and how it threatens to pull them all into the abyss.

Now, toss an innocent child into the mix and stir, vigorously. When oil deals and society status trump true love, and when anyone threatens the family - whether from without or within - the depth and length to which Brya Harrison goes, to hold this dysfunctional family together, will keep you turning the page.

That today's very real oil crisis looms over all mankind, affecting the lifestyles of everyone from kings and queens to the little pawns, is perfectly poignant and cause for much introspection. "Utopia Texas" will make you stop and think about how far you'd go for wealth, power, and prestige, and Betty will make you cry at a...

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ISBN-10: 1432717529
ISBN-13: 978-1432717520
Author: Betty Byrd
Publisher: Outskirts Press

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