Tag: Bruce Holsinger

The Displacements Book Review

Another Hit from Bruce Holsinger

The Displacements by Bruce Holsinger weaves a story of climate change, angry white males and family unity in the face of adversity into a page-turning tale of evacuation, displacement, and FEMA camp living. I first reviewed Holsinger after the release of The Gifted School. Click here to read the review.

The Displacements is even more thought provoking than The Gifted School. And, in my opinion a more important read. Hurricanes are becoming more powerful, coastal cities more crowded and reliance on government agencies such as FEMA definitely more complicated.

Plot of The Displacements

The first ever Category 6 Hurricane knocks out South Florida. Daphne Larson-Hall evacuates north with her three kids: Gavin, Mia and Oliver. Unbeknownst to Daphne, her purse is left-intentionally-on the driveway. Her surgeon husband needs to spearhead a hospital evacuation and must join later. But he never does.

So, the upper-middle class family, penniless, finds themselves on a bus being evacuated to a large FEMA tent-city in rural Oklahoma. Circumstances dictate the family remain in the displacement camp for three months. Then, they must evacuate once again due to another natural disaster.

Thought-provoking FEMA Camp

Life inside the tent-city under the leadership of former Army veteran turned FEMA disaster assistant, Lorraine “Rain” Holton, is a reflection of society. Even though tents are randomly assigned, tents are traded, and communities centered on heritage spring up; Cubans, Haitians, Guatemalans, and…Crackerland. Holsinger takes a hard look at the segregation. And the underlying cultural divide.

But an equally compelling thread involves drugs-users and dealers. The lives of the Larson-Hall family are touched on so many levels. Fortunately, the family comes through stronger, with less naïveté and quite possibly a bit more happiness.

Bruce Holsinger

Holsinger is masterful at utilizing fiction to bring attention to major societal problems. In The Displacements, the author gives hope that change can come about. But it may occur one person at a time.

The growth of Daphne Larson-Hall is particularly uplifting. Many women in America fit her description. Unaware of personal or family finances. And too trusting. Yet, in the face of adversity she re-groups and finds herself. Not a perfect mom, but she has the strength of love for her family. The interactions with her stepson towards the end of the story are powerful. Strength comes from within-as does happiness.

If you have not read any of Holsinger’s work, I encourage you to add him to your list of authors to look for. His stand-alone books make you think. They truly are a reflection of society.

The Displacements book cover with swimming pool overlooking the Atlantic

The Gifted School Book Review

Book cover of the Gifted SchoolThe Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger caught my eye. The inside jacket narrative piqued my interest. Finally, the author’s writing style kept me glued to the pages. I finished this 400 plus page book in one sitting.

Since the publishing date is 2019, there is a good chance the book was written prior to the college admission scandal that opened eyes in the United States to the fact admissions are anything but equal. While The Gifted School centers on admission into a public middle school, the same ploys to gain a spot for one’s offspring is evident in fiction as in reality.

Character Development

Holsinger does an excellent job of developing all the characters. The women are upper middle class and the plot really follows the entwined lives of their four families. A side development revolves around the family of a woman who cleans house for two of the families.

The four women have been close friends since a Mom and infant swim class. The children are about to enter middle school. A new public magnet school which will focus on gifted and talented children is about to open. Thus, the competition begins.

Elitism in America

In not so subtle ways, the author explores the concept of elitist education in America. While I did not see the big twist in the plot, I did accurately guess which of the children would gain admission to the school. Three of the seven won admission. In some ways I would have added a fourth. But realistically, having three make it in was against the odds.

Holsinger does use his characters to show how education can improve one’s status. He also paints an accurate picture (as illustrated by the college admissions scandal) of the lies and underhanded actions parents will go to in order to provide the edge often needed for success.

The Gifted School

In the case of the three students admitted to the school, all were well deserving. Of those not admitted, a case could be made for most of them as well. The testing and then portfolio process was not random in the book. However, in many Colorado Magnet and Charter schools the process is one of a lottery. But that would not make for an entertaining tale.

The key point of The Gifted School however is the many arguments that such a school triggers. I felt that the author shared the opposing viewpoints. Although as stated above, I felt I could read his bias.

The major twist in the story, I did not see coming. Brilliant plotting by the author results in an “aha” by the reader once a key relationship is revealed. But the other characters also reach a climax in their stories. With the exception of the character of one of the middle school kids, I felt very satisfied with the outcomes.

Furthermore, I feel the author has made key points about education and about friendships. Society in the United States is very competitive. Often, competition is a double-edged sword.

I highly recommend The Gifted School.