Originally published on Reedsy Discovery
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Set in Colorado in the 1970s, Micky’s story takes place in the whirlwind of the US at war with Vietnam, looking for a missing father, and hiding from an estranged mother. Micky runs away for the third time and so the advent of Micky recording her life thus far, in the presumed safety of Fire Peak in Golconda at her father’s abandoned cabin, begins.
The writing style of Solotramp is impressive and immersive – from the juvenile and naive diary entries, to beautiful descriptions of landscape, to quick-fire dialogue from Part Two onwards. The pace and swift flashbacks back and into present day create an engaging narrative – the reader might find themselves devouring pages, flipping ahead to satisfy curiosity or even for reassurance, as Micky’s past and future both unravel.
Thematically, Binnings tackles the vulnerability of young women and children, abuse, abandonment, drug use and trauma all within Micky’s story of being a runaway. Binning reveals that often what is presented as typically safe, isn’t always, reminding us of the way vulnerable people, particularly children, are preyed upon, disproportionately by older men. Within this though Binnings captures hope and how it feels to return to yourself beyond trauma and through healing; after the story climaxes, Micky’s transformation found through audio memory and music is rapturous.
Particularly enjoyable are the roles both Rose, a waitress in Golconda, and Ty, Micky’s brother, come to play in Micky’s life. Their importance, empathy and love are a firm expansion of how to view family – from the nucleus to those we find, those who become our chosen family. No doubt common within runaway and homeless communities, Binnings’ inclusion of this was a beautiful nod to how complicated the saying ‘blood runs thicker than water’ is, a reminder that family are those who prove themselves to be just that, family.
Thus, this novel balances between a coming-of-age narrative (although not Young Adult Fiction) and a detailed exploration of how the past marries the present, and the family unit being integral to our outcomes in life. Any reader with a love of superb characterisation, someone to root for, landscape and musicality will find enjoyment in Binnings’ Solotramp.
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