Read Daredevils Online Free - From the winner of 2014’s PEN Robert W. Bingham Prize, an unforgettable debut novel about Loretta, a teenager married off as a “sister wife,” who makes a break for freedom
At the heart of this exciting debut novel, set in Arizona and Idaho in the mid-1970s, is fifteen-year-old Loretta, who slips out of her bedroom every evening to meet her so-called gentile boyfriend. Her strict Mormon parents catch her returning one night, and promptly marry her off to Dean Harder, a devout yet materialistic fundamentalist who already has a wife and a brood of kids. The Harders relocate to his native Idaho, where Dean’s teenage nephew Jason falls hard for Loretta. A Zeppelin and Tolkien fan, Jason worships Evel Knievel and longs to leave his close-minded community. He and Loretta make a break for it. They drive all night, stay in hotels, and relish their dizzying burst of teenage freedom as they seek to recover Dean’s cache of “Mormon gold.” But someone Loretta left behind is on their trail...
A riveting story of desire and escape, Daredevils boasts memorable set pieces and a rich cast of secondary characters. There’s Dean’s other wife, Ruth, who as a child in the 1950s was separated from her parents during the notorious Short Creek raid, when federal agents descended on a Mormon fundamentalist community. There’s Jason’s best friend, Boyd, part Native American and caught up in the activist spirit of the time, who comes along for the ride, with disastrous results. And Vestal’s ultimate creation is a superbly sleazy chatterbox—a man who might or might not be Evel Knievel himself—who works his charms on Loretta at a casino in Elko, Nevada.
A lifelong journalist whose Spokesman column is a fixture in Spokane, WA, Shawn has honed his fiction over many years, publishing in journals like McSweeney's and Tin House. His stunning first collection, Godforsaken Idaho, burrowed into history as it engaged with masculinity and crime, faith and apostasy, and the West that he knows so well. Daredevils shows what he can do on a broader canvas--a fascinating, wide-angle portrait of a time and place that's both a classic coming of age tale and a plunge into the myths of America, sacred and profane.
|Number of Pages||:||320 pages|
April 18, 2016
I reviewed Godforsaken Idaho and I got an email from GoodReads that it was my most read review, so I felt compelled to grab Vestal's newest book as soon as it came available.
I enjoy Vestal's writing and it doesn't hurt that I grew up in the 70s, was raised Mormon, was born in Southern Idaho, wat...
December 08, 2015
I love a good coming-of-age story, throw in some Mormon polygamists and you got yourself a page-turner.
May 14, 2016
There are not many Mormons in fiction and I'm not sure why, perhaps because they remain a mystery to non-Mormons. Shawn Vestal lived in the region he writes about and knows it well, it comes across in the portrayal of the landscape (from jackrabbits to sand flats) and the normalizing of LDS peopl...
February 05, 2016
Could NOT. PUT. IT. DOWN.
(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape and child abuse.)
"She thinks of the thick dowel that had been lodged against the sliding window in her bedroom. Dean had cut the wood to size, and climbed a ladder to her seco...
September 23, 2016
Loretta is a beautiful teenage girl, and she wants to do what most teenage girls want to do. Date boys, go out in the evenings, drink beer and generally let her hair down. Except Loretta belongs to a strict Mormon family and all of those things that Loretta wants to do are forbidden.
October 13, 2015
Why aren't there half stars on Goodreads?! On the 4 side of 3.5 stars. Good writing, promising concept, just didn't end up much of anywhere.
April 28, 2016
We all have topics we can’t pass up, that consistently hook our interest, and for me, Mormon fundamentalists are near the top of that list. Ever since I read Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, I’ve been fascinated with this secretive sect, the ways leaders manipu...
April 27, 2016
This book was so incredibly interesting. I could barely put it down at times. I loved that it took place in the 1970s. I loved the characters and how complex and different they were. Everything was so well written, it blew my mind.
I highly recommend this to book everyone.
I received an advanced c...
February 24, 2016
I would describe "Daredevils" not as a coming of age story but more of a "loss of innocence" story.
Each of the main characters loses their innocence in one way or another. Loretta is the pivot point and she loses her innocence early when she sneaks out of her strict Mormon home to meet her older...
April 02, 2016
This is a uniquely 1970s coming of age story set in isolated communities of fundamentalist LDS believers along the Arizona border. Three teenagers, from families that did not originate from FLDS communities, moved and became semi-involved when they were middle school aged. The transition left eac...