Feb 9, 2010

Book Review: Thirsty by Kristin Bair O'Keeffe

A gutsy book by a gutsy writer.

Summary: Klara Bozic raises three children and, though she fled domestic violence from her father in her native Croatia in 1883, lives daily with physical violence from her husband Drago in her new home in the steel mill town of Thirsty, just outside of Pittsburgh.

Klara's daughter grows up and also marries an abusive man, continuing the cycle of violence in the family. She is haunted by dreams in which she takes revenge. What Klara endures and how she pulls herself and her daughter out of the cycle to find some measure of peace and stability is the theme of the novel.

Well written, fluid prose, well developed characters. Thirsty shows the effects of domestic abuse on individuals and the family, as well as gives a view of the hardship of life for families dependent on the Pennsylvania steel mill industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I give a lot of credit to the author for addressing the topics in her well written novel, making more people aware of domestic violence and the cycle it creates.

Author Kristin Bair O'Keeffe wrote a complete draft of this book as her thesis for her MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. Her book is based on her own experiences and observations of life in a working class community in a steel mill town. Watch for an interview with the author which will be posted this month.

Thirsty: The Novel was published 2009 by Swallow Press. More information is available at http://www.thirstythenovel.com/

Source: ARC from Phenix & Phenix
Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge


  1. Sounds like a very gritty book. Good review!

  2. Tough topic. The continuing cyle is a puzzling one for me, especially having seen in first hand in a friend.

  3. This sounds like an excellent read. More often than not the cycle keeps repeating itself...sad.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful story but a bit too sad for me right now.

  5. I can see how this topic is a tough one to write about!
    And this continuing cycle makes me feel sick!

    Something i would consider jus to know more about it!

  6. Good review, I just wonder is there a town in Pittsburg called "Thirsty?" It's always sad to read about Domestic Abuse.

  7. Hi Tea & All,

    Though there is not a town in Pittsburgh called Thirsty, I did base the town on Clairton, Pennsylvania (the steel town where my grandparents lived back when I was a kid).

    But...there is a good reason Thirsty the town is called Thirsty. To find out, you'll have to read the book. :)

    Cheers & Happy Reading,

    Kristin Bair O'Keeffe

  8. I loved your blog. Thank you.


I love getting comments and your thoughts...

Book Review: The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson

The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson My rating: 4 of 5 stars Genre: contemporary fiction, romance, women's fiction  Publication: August 30...