Welcome to our first week of discussion around Oprah’s latest Book Club Pick, “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver. Born to a single teenage mother scraping by in a single-wide trailer, our narrator, nicknamed “Demon,” is wise beyond his years, with a fierce will to survive and a unique voice. (As he notes in the beginning of Chapter Two: “A kid is a terrible thing to be, in charge of nothing.”)
Early on, we see Demon roam the Appalachian woods with his best friend, the grandson of the Peggots, an older couple living next door. Demon considers himself part of that family, even calling the matriarch “Mammaw,” but his idyllic childhood is upended when his mother marries an abusive man who bans him from the Peggots’ house.
When Demon finds his mother passed out from an overdose, he calls 911, sparking a chain of events that changes the trajectory of his young life, including being placed on a farm that turns out to be a twist straight out of a Dickens novel. On his birthday, he discovers his mother has died from something he’s never heard of: “oxy.”
Here’s Oprah’s question for you: what do you think spending so much time with the Peggots in those early years gave Demon? And did you have people in your own life that extended your meaning of family? We can’t wait to hear your thoughts. #ReadWithUs
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