Indie Review: Godshot by Chelsea Bieker
Chelsea Bieker’s debut novel Godshot is a motherless coming-of-age story where one young girl must navigate adulthood – figuring out things like sexuality, identity, trauma, and resilience on her own. From learning about sexuality from romance novels to navigating morals through a religion cult leader, Godshot is fiercely written exploration of poverty, desperation, abandonment and ignorance.
Drought has settled on the town of Peaches, California. The area of the Central Valley where fourteen-year-old Lacey May and her alcoholic mother live was once an agricultural paradise. Now it’s an environmental disaster, a place of cracked earth and barren raisin farms. In their desperation, residents have turned to a cult leader named Pastor Vern for guidance. He promises, through secret “assignments,” to bring the rain everybody is praying for. Lacey has no reason to doubt the pastor. But then her life explodes in a single unimaginable act of abandonment: her mother, exiled from the community for her sins, leaves Lacey and runs off with a man she barely knows. Abandoned and distraught, Lacey May moves in with her widowed grandma, Cherry, who is more concerned with her taxidermy mouse collection than her own granddaughter. As Lacey May endures the increasingly appalling acts of men who want to write all the rules and begins to uncover the full extent of Pastor Vern’s shocking plan to bring fertility back to the land, she decides she must go on a quest to find her mother no matter what it takes. With her only guidance coming from the romance novels she reads and the unlikely companionship of the women who knew her mother, she must find her own way through unthinkable circumstances.
Through Godshot, Chelsea Bieker shows that our stories are always evolving, even through unimaginable darkness the human spirit perseveres.
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Article originally Published in the June/July 2020 Issue Summer Reads Edition.