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By Laury A. Egan

The Outcast Oracle

Fourteen-year-old Charlene Beth “Charlie” Whitestone has been deserted by her parents in 1959 western New York.  She’s left in the custody of her grandfather, C.B.: a charming con artist, moonshiner and religious fraud who inducts her into his various enterprises while encouraging her dreams of becoming a writer. When C.B. suddenly dies, Charlie is left alone to use her wits and resourcefulness to take charge of her life, all the while wrestling with the morality of continuing her grandfather’s schemes. Then a handsome cowboy turns up, insinuating himself into C.B.’s religion business and into Charlie’s heart. Soon he has Charlie performing staged “miracles,” plunging her deeper into a lucrative but troubling web of deceit.

 

Though The Outcast Oracle is about a teenage girl, it’s a book for any adult who remembers the traumas of adolescence and the shock of discovering that religion is not all it’s cracked up to be.

 

“Simply delicious fun from start to finish.”

  – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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“The Outcast Oracle is a page-turning tour de force, full of humor, irony, winks at societal conventions, and serious revelations about the ruses and abuses of organized religion. This lively tale stars Charlene 'Charlie' Beth Whitestone, an all-American teenage girl grappling with the pain of growing up, feeling alone, and finding her path through a thicket of family disasters. Hers will be one of the most enduring voices of contemporary fiction: humanist, feminist, or otherwise. She’ll make you think; she’ll make you laugh out loud.”

 

 –Karla Linn Merrifield, author of Lithic Scatter and Other Poems

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