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  • Writer's pictureRachel Schommer

Rachel Schommer Reviews: 3.25.24

This week's review is my first 5-star read of 2024. This book hit me straight in the feels and I couldn't recommend it more.


DARK COUNTRY by Philip LoPresti

1. LoPresti is a consistent 5-star author for me. I don’t ‘do’ feelings in real life, so I need my books to move me in a way I can’t deny; he does it every. single. time. When I finish a LoPresti book there are always so many highlights and notes that it looks like I’m about to use it to write a life-altering thesis.  

2. LoPresti writes very personally and from a place of such pain that he bleeds across the page in exquisite ways for our consumption. Pain, while utterly devastating in the moment, can also be incredibly beautiful - especially after time has distanced the event a bit. I love the way reading LoPresti puts me right back into my painful moments but with more clarity and appreciation for feeling. It’s like he takes everything I’ve ever thought in my most downtrodden moments and puts words around my dark thoughts, and reading those words is a fond remembrance of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come from the searing pain. It’s both a reminder I’ll be there again, as well as an assurance I’ll come out on the other side, even when I feel like there’s no way humanly possible I can. Just a couple examples of what I mean:

              “…he no longer had anything to live for. How anything worth dying for was already gone, and how he existed somewhere in the middle…” (pg. 17)

              “Consciousness is the single most horrific thing a human being will ever have to experience. Everything else is just a side effect.” (pg. 111)

3. As someone who grew up in a very Catholic family, who has since had my own struggles with faith and belief, I could very much relate to Clayton, the MC, as he struggles with his faith throughout the entire book. Then there’s Sawyer, who is the perfect pairing to Clay. She seems to have a very strong faith (not in a preachy pushy way) and is a great reminder that even when your faith in something familiar is lost, you’re never truly without faith; as all it is is belief. Therefore you’re never without some sort of faith, it just may not be in the way you’re used to thinking about it.


4. As always, incredibly relatable, and real characters you get fully invested in, flaws and all.

5. 5-Frickin Stars!

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