By Zilla Babbitt
My first read of 2021, and boy did it not disappoint. Zilla Babbitt does an incredible job in this story. Truly masterful penmanship and storytelling. I think the first thing I want to mention about this book is how the chapters end. Each chapter ends at such a good point in the story, and in such a good way. For me, chapters often end in this weird spot, or with a big cliffhanger. Babbitt does something entirely different. This is a short book, I mean, you can read it in about an hour. So the little things like that really matter.
Speaking of little things, this leads me to my next point. The imagery in this book is absolutely beautiful. There’s something truly special about the scene when Jeremy gets his ankle shattered by Red. How does anybody write a scene where an eight-year-old gets their ankle shattered by a cow? Babbitt makes you really feel that scene. Babbitt makes you feel like you’re drinking the river water, or eating the raw fish, or that your lips are cracked from the weeks in the Texas heat at Big Bend National Park. There’s a scene where Babbitt compares eating rotten fish to eating intestines, and it is so well written that you almost feel it in your mouth. So, watch out for that.
The continued motifs in this story just keep you pulled into the story. It’s a definite page turner, and the motifs play a big part in that. Well, that, and the fact that you’re constantly left wondering when this poor kid is going to catch a break. The whole time you’re kind of thinking, “Okay, but this has to be a dream, right?” And I won’t spoil anything for you, but just know that you’ll be thinking the same thing the entire time.
The style. The style of this novella is so unique. Babbitt is a fresh author, and brings so much to the table. I would give Broken Sky an easy 5 out of 5 stars. While there are a few typos, I won’t hold that against it. The story, the quality of writing, and the overall tone of the book is amazing. For anybody that has read Babbitt’s work in other posted short stories, you will absolutely love it. And for anybody that’s never heard of Babbitt before, you’ll definitely have a new author to keep an eye out for.
Thank you for reading! Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Join in on this discussion in the comments below!
Interested in reading this book? Buy it here.