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The Ballad of Ami Miles: 05/09/21
The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley is set about a hundred years in the future in Eufala Alabama. Years earlier a virus rendered most women infertile and society as we know it crumbled as a result. Ami Miles is the last child of her family's compound and she choses to flee in search of her mother when her grandfather decides its time to breed her to a much older man.
The post virus world is shown through a very narrow focus through the eyes of one very sheltered, religiously raised teenager and the two spots she's lived. These spots are extrapolated from current extant places giving this novel a solid sense of place.
Some pre-Covid reviews of the book take issue with the number of children who live at the site of the former Lakepoint State Park. After nearly a year and a half of living through the pandemic of highly contagious virus, we've learned first hand how uneven the infection rates can be, even in places that are a few minutes away by car. What Ami experiences is possible and relatable in this post-Covid world.
Beyond the set up of Ami's world, is how she grows once she's free of her grandparents. She discovers love and the many different ways families can be formed. She gains access to new to her music and new to her books. She learns more of the history of her area and her former country.
Ami's journey can also be marked on the road narrative spectrum. Ami takes her journey with little in the way of personal agency, making her a marginalized traveler (66). Her destination is a new home (66) — one where she is safe to be herself. Her route, while through the forest, follows the path of a known Blue Highway (33), US 431. Summarized, The Ballad of Ami Miles is about a marginalized traveler finding a new home via the Blue Highway (666633).