I just finished reading Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates. I wasn't too impressed. I've read a few other of hers (The Gravedigger's Daughter and We Were the Mulvaneys) and I really liked them. But this one, not so much. She's a good descriptive author so you can truly visualize the characters, settings, etc. But this one was a little too dark and a little too long.
It centers around the unsolved murder of a young woman in a small town in northern NY. There are two "persons of interest" in the case, her estranged husband and the married man she was having an affair with. The story is told in two parts. Part 1 is told from the married man's daughter's point of view and describes her ordeal as her family is torn apart, her father is literally run out of town and labeled as a murderer, and she is continually trying to find love and acceptance from him although he is no longer a part of her life. Part 2 is told from the murdered woman's son's point of view and is the sad description of what happens to a young man (who was 14 when she was murdered) when he is left behind with an alcoholic father and a dysfunctional extended family. The whole book deals a lot with drugs, alcohol, and young adults trying to find themselves in an uncaring, unjust society.
The one interesting thing is that it seems very real. It's almost as if it could be a true story in a working class town where adolescents are exploring the world of drugs and the impact it has on so many lives. Kind of depressing :(
So, although I wouldn't recommend this book, I would recommend this author. She is good at storytelling and I'd read another one of her books. Hopefully, it just isn't so dark.