Review: WHITE TRASH by Alexandra Allred

It would be a disservice to classify this novel as a simple "who dun it," or as a comedy, or even as an examination of small town American life. Because White Trash is all of that and more. By turns comic and tragic, it can make your blood boil and your heart despair, but ultimately, the novel is uplifting because people can change. Ignorance is, after all, a choice.

As someone living in small town America, myself, I found Allred's portrayal of  small town life to be painfully realistic. The cloying nosiness, the cliques, the not-so-secret secrets, the gossip ... But also the quiet support of neighbor for neighbor. Allred illustrates this early in the novel when the mother gossips about watching a neighbor have her stove hauled away ... then sends her daughter over to check on that neighbor and make sure she has a way to cook.

But an ugly undercurrent of American culture runs close to the surface in small town life: classism and racism. The poor and non-white in Granby are more-or-less segregated to their own neigborhoods, and it's not uncommon to hear a racial epithet in casual conversation.

Allred illustrates the different forms racism takes, and its pervasiveness in our culture. From the systemic/institutional racism of the cop who sits outside of the Hispanic trailer park, knowing she can meet her quota because the poor residents are unlikely to have car insurance, to two catty young girls in a grocery store mocking the frustration of a black mother struggling to meet her baby's needs on a tiny food stamp budget, to the police chief who worries the town will believe he got his position because of Affirmative Action, the book weaves a subtle groundwork for the horrible crime that threatens to rip the town apart.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The voice of the narrator has such a ring of authenticity, it's hard to believe the author didn't spend her entire life in a small Southern town, herself. You can almost feel Thia's stinging pride at having to come home to raise her baby after having escaped the town with her education. She finds herself being seen as "no better than" the girls who stayed home and started their families right after high school. Despite it all, she adores her baby, Ella, (whom her mother promptly renames Lily) and is determined to make the best life for her little family. Until she finds herself in the middle of the investigation of a horrific murder of one of her friends...

White Trash is funny, heartbreaking, and painfully realistic, a very entertaining read with an important message.

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Author Bio:

Alexandra Allred’s writing career began following a stint on the US women’s bobsled team. After being named “Athlete of the Year” by the United States Olympic Committee, she became an adventure writer. While writing for a variety of national publications, she test drove the Volvo Gravity Car, donned a dog attack suit, played professional women’s football, and even outran a beefalo mix (that’s a buffalo/cow mix to you city folk).

She turned to fiction writing using her rural Texas homestead as fodder for storytelling. When not writing, she lobbies for healthy children. Allred lives outside Dallas, Texas, with her husband, children, and a plethora of animals.

Ways to connect with the author:

Facebook: Facebook

Twitter: @alexandraallred

White Trash will be available on Amazon,, and Kobo on June 6th. It is currently available for preorder on iTunes and The Writer's Coffee Shopwebsite.

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