Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town | Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock


Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Wendy Lamb Books/Penguin Random House; 2021; 208 pages

Content Warning: Sexual asault and abuse, trauma, pedophilia, child death, murder, grief, drug use, car crash, wildfire, infedility, homophobia, body horror, death of a loved one, alcoholism, anti-native racism, child abduction

About the Author: “Born and raised in Alaska, I now write and live in a yurt near Fairbanks. Before writing fiction, I spent many years working as a journalist for Alaska public radio stations around the state. I also fished commercially out of Southeast Alaska with my family. I often wear two down coats at the same time.” (Bio taken from author’s website)

Find Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock on the following platforms:

“She and Jake would be the famous high school sweethearts memorialized forever in a deadly car crash. Because everyone dies famous in a small town, don’t they?”

Whether someone is from a small town in Alaska, Colorado, or along the Washington coast, their stories are all interwoven. The interconnected vignettes begin with Poppy and her mother, who move to Alaska while Poppy’s older sister Ruby stays in Pigeon Creek with her father after their parents separated. With every story comes a new intersection as Ruby’s boyfriend cheats on her with Martha, the new girl claiming to be from California but who is actually from a small town along the Washington coast. There, she left behind her best friend Jane, the same Jane who finds an unconscious Conrad after he ate bivalve mollusks and lost his memory. Conrad kissed Ben before he left Granville to find his uncle in Canada. Later, Ben gives a ride to a hitchhiker named Delia, who is trying to find her abuser—but the stories don’t stop there. With numerous connections tying them all together, this collection of vignette-style writings explores the lives of various young people living in small towns across the country. 

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock presents these stories in a way that isn’t overwhelming and allows readers to make connections with every page turn. Having been born and raised in a small town myself, I always say that not much happens there; but Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town reminded me that there is much more to small towns than what meets the eye. Often, I find narratives about characters leaving their small towns to pursue big dreams, but I enjoyed reading about these characters’ lives in towns where everyone knows each other. The stories detail the loss, love, pain, and disasters that all these characters experience and how they deal with it all. Each story is as great as the last, and I am sure readers will identify with at least one of them. 

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)

PRR Writer and Editor, Karyme Cuadras