BOOK REVIEW: Flint, perplexing attractions loom large in Kelsey Ronan’s “thoughtful, fascinating” debut novel “Chevy in the Hole”
Reading Chevy in the Hole, the debut novel by Flint-native Kelsey Ronan, a question continued to nag me: What did Monae see in August that would allow such a relationship to take root?
He’s a nerdy, recovering drug addict who nearly died after overdosing in the bathroom of a Detroit farm-to-table restaurant and returned to his hometown of Flint to restart his life. She’s a senior “at the university” (UM-Flint, presumably) majoring in environmental science, volunteering at an urban farm in one of Flint’s many depleted neighborhoods and employed at Sloan Museum (the museum isn’t identified by name).
He’s also a habitual cigarette-smoker who crashes on his sister’s couch, doesn’t give a damn about much of anything, and is “pretty sure” Flint owes him something. Meanwhile, she’s motivated “to know why kids get fat on the free lunch program and the junk food their mothers buy at gas stations because they’ve got to take two buses to get to a supermarket.”
Oh, and then there’s this: In one of the nation’s most segregated communities and one with a checkered past and present on matters of race, he’s a 26-year-old white man and she’s a 22-year-old Black woman.
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Bob Campbell, an essayist and novelist, likes his bourbon neat. His debut novel, Motown Man, was published by Urban Farmhouse Press in November 2020.