It is time for Lael Wallace to grow up. Raised as a sheltered, suburban teen, the only way to escape her controlling mother is to run away from home. Without options, she rents a room at a rough hotel in downtown Detroit. There, Lael finds herself thrust into the thick of a dangerous adulthood, living among prostitutes, addicts, criminals, and the many tenacious souls of Detroit.
About the Author
Misty Provencher offers readers, ranging from teen to adult, a shelf full of stories to enjoy. Provencher’s genres include titles in contemporary romance, fantasy, literary fiction, Sci-fi, and even erotica.
While Provencher can ride a motorcycle, knows how to Karate chop, and has learned enough French, Spanish, and Sign Language to get herself slapped, Misty’s life is dedicatedto connecting with, and understanding, thepeople who cross her path. She is totally enchanted with the worldand spends her days trying to translate her everydaymuses into words.
Misty Provencher lives in the Mitten.
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Authors are frequently told to write about what they know. It’s the advice given in the hopes that a story rings true, that a reader won’t walk away disbelieving the fiction. Well, Weeds of Detroit by Misty Paquette isn’t autobiographical but there’s a lot of life in this tale.
To be honest, Paquette hooked me with the title. Being a native Detroiter I’m always curious about anything written about my hometown. And a lot of times I finish the read shaking my head, realizing that the author merely slapped a label on a story which could be about any place but Detroit. This is not the case with Weeds of Detroit.
Paquette writes a tale about a white girl from the suburbs who chooses to run away to the big bad city of Detroit and live in a motel. And it’s not just any motel. It’s a rundown place frequented by men and women looking for a quickie with a XXX movie playing in the background. It’s a place no one should want to call home for any length of time. But to Lael Wallace it’s paradise.
As a young adult, I read my fair share of books about teenage runaways—hey, it was a hot topic in the late 70s and early 80s. Most of these stories featured main characters who ended up becoming a part of the seedy landscape and needed rescuing. Lael isn’t looking to be rescued. She simply wants to escape a life she assumes is unfair and too controlling.
I liked Lael. At first, I thought she was going to be the proverbial spoiled little white girl without a clue in life. The verdict is still out on how smart it is to throw your belongings in a backpack and hit the road. But when you see that the adults who are supposed to be making wise decisions aren’t doing so, maybe it’s a good idea to go while the getting is good.
When Lael hits Detroit she brings with her all the stereotypical views a lot of people have about the city. She soon learns to sort through the mire and find out what’s real and what’s not. By the end of the story Lael has a lot of spunk and she’s finally making the right choices.
The best thing I liked about Paquette’s story is how she embraced the essence of Detroit. Yes, the city can be a dangerous place (what large city isn’t), and there’s no way on earth (heaven or hell) would you convince me to take up residence in a motel off of Eight Mile Road. But when the character of Lavina says that people in Detroit are like weeds… ‘No matter how much poison gets poured on ‘em, an’ no matter how much they get stomped down, they rise up ag’in,’ Paquette nailed it. Detroiters are resilient. A lot of crap has happened in and to my hometown. But no matter what it’s still home to people who wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else.
Paquette also nailed the right sentiment when Lael asked Jonah, the handsome Black man she dated, why it was okay for him to say the ‘n’ word and not her. His explanation is spot on and a great way of summarizing how I felt reading Weeds of Detroit—it’s okay for family to talk bad about each other, but nobody else better do it. In other words, if you’re a Detroiter criticizing our fair city, that’s all right. An outsider doing it? It’s just disparaging and badmouthing, something Paquette did an excellent job avoiding.
And speaking of Jonah… Ever really look at a snake? It’s a beautiful reptile with resplendent colors and elegant way of moving. If you’re smart, you know that you don’t play with one. You don’t trust it completely. That’s Jonah. We never learn his full name. We never see his home life. It’s not needed. Personally, I didn’t trust him to begin with. His game dripped off of him like sweat.
Many of the characters in Weeds of Detroit were obvious to me—they either resembled someone I’d seen growing up or someone who was described by people I knew. I applaud Paquette on delivering a story so real it had a pulse.
Just a warning. This is not a light-hearted fairy tale about a little girl who goes to the big city. This tale has its share of wolves and other creatures that go bump in the night and day. There are big bad monsters who wait around corners to eat little girls like Lael, nicknamed Fail by a co-worker. But if you have patience and read carefully, there’s hope in these pages. It’s the same hope every Detroiter has, the belief that the city will rise like the legendary phoenix. And it’s this same hope that turned Fail into a Success on the final page.
I highly recommend Weeds of Detroit to anyone who wants a gripping story that will make you proud to call Detroit your home, whether you’re a weed or a dandelion.
My Rating: (5 Hands=Excellent, 4 Hands=Pretty Good, and 3 Hands=Good)