Shortly after I started Backseat Saints, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. At the center is Ro (or Rose Mae), who was abused by her father, abandoned by her mother, and now lives with an abusive husband. That should evoke some sympathy, but Ro also quickly reveals she doesn’t like cats (granted, she is allergic) and then shoots her dog as she attempts to murder her husband. For all her bragging about being a great shot, Ro completely misses her husband and hits the dog. She’s remorseful, but I couldn’t garner sympathy for her situation. Furthermore, Ro reveals her reason for staying with Thom not long after the shooting—she actually seems to take some sort of sick pleasure in their relationship and has intentionally antagonized him at times in order to provoke the abuse. At a later point in Backseat Saints, Ro says her father gave her the abuse she “needed.” Ro is in desperate need of the therapy she lies about to a woman (from gods in Alabama) who went to high school with her.
I never could get behind Ro, but I liked Mrs. Fancy and Bunny. Although it was never directly addressed and Ro seemed to believe it was coincidence, I think Mrs. Fancy knew exactly what she was doing when she asked Ro to take her to the airport and then pointed out the palm reader. I also like to think Mrs. Fancy’s offering of shoes was pointed too. There are a few little bits that led me to that conclusion. (I’d like to see Mrs. Fancy become the center in a book of her own.) So somehow, I did end up enjoying the book. I relished Joshilyn Jackson’s writing and the plot she created. The twists were incredible; the ending was an absolute shocker.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Grand Central Publishing.