Read Our Daily Bread by Lauren B. Davis Online


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Title : Our Daily Bread
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ISBN : 9781877655722
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 257 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Our Daily Bread Reviews

  • Arah-Lynda
    2019-01-05 11:45

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."I remember a time not so long ago, at least not by my demographic.A time when, what happened at home, stayed at homeYou did not hang out your dirty laundry.People did not talk about the unsavoury.It wasn’t proper and it was not accepted. Honour your father and your motherEverybody has secrets, butOnly bad girls go to jail.Backwoods noir, I know it and here it is.Inspired by the true story of the Goler Clan of Nova Scotia, Our Daily Bread tells the story of The Erskines, who live on North Mountain, in poverty, secrecy and isolation. They deal in moonshine, marijuana and most recently the making and moving of meth. Albert Erskine is one of their clan, but he is far from comfortable in his own skin or theirs. He yearns for a better life, a way to distance himself from these woods, the elders, their secrets. Davis quickly brings the reader into the dark heart of these secrets without ever resorting to sensationalism. A glimpse is all that is needed.Six year old club-footed Brenda, one of Lloyd’s kids, stood on an old bucket and looked in a back window. She wore a boy’s jacket over a filthy pink nightgown, a pair of rubber boots several sizes too large, to accommodate her twisted left foot. She’d been in need of a bath several weeks ago. Albert knew what she was probably seeing in there, and he knew if she got caught she’d get a worse beating than he just got. If he called out he’d just scare her and she’d make a noise and then they’d both be in for it. He should just walk away and let whatever was going to happen go right on and happen. Erskines don’t talk and Erskines better mind their own fucking business. She turned then and looked at him tears pouring down her face. Time peeled away, fled backwards and Albert was six years old again, his mouth full, gagging, the stench and sound of moans, his own flesh tearing……..bile rushed acidly into his mouth. His hands shook. His knees shook. He turned away. Spit. Spit again. One of these days he was going to do it. He’d get his rifle and put and end to the Erskines, all of them.Gideon, the town closest to North Mountain is full of God fearing people who shun The Erskine clan and the people of North Mountain. They believe them to be beyond salvation. Even so the people in Gideon have their own problems. Take Tom Evans, his marriage is in trouble, leaving his children Ivy and Bobby at odds, looking for their own solace. When Albert Erskine, comes down off the mountain to fish, he runs into Tom’s teenage son Bobby, and an unlikely friendship develops. A friendship that is destined to set the people of North Mountain and Gideon on a collision course. One with devastating results.Dorothy Carlisle is an independent minded widow who runs a local antique shop in Gideon. She is following a tradition, one once shared with her late husband, one of taking boxes of provisions: clothes, food, books and such, up to the mountain and leaving them in a secluded spot, hopefully, for the children to find.Part of her very much did not want to hear the sound again. A voice in her head told her to get back in the car as quickly as possible, and lock the doors. She was aware of her own heartbeat, and of the blood pulsing in her veins. Crickets. A mosquito near her ear, which she forced herself not to swat. And then….“Mmmuhuuh….mmmuhhaaaa”…..Bestial, but not the sound of an animal. Human. “Uuuhhuhhh.” Human made inhuman. A sort of low keening – bereft even of the hope anyone might hear. Dorothy’s skin prickled and tightened. The sound held no threat, but seemed to echo from an abyss of despair. Her horror was not of something red in tooth and claw, or even fist and blade. Rather, she recoiled from understanding. She feared for her soul if it peered into that abyss. As though under some hideous enchantment, Dorothy stared at her own trembling hand, unable to move. “Oh God, oh God, oh God. Protect us.”The sound, the cry, came again then. Mourning made manifest. Such grief was surely as isolating, as solitary as any cell of stone or steel, as any nail and cross. Left to its own devices it would suck the entire world into the centre of its tarry core. It was alone out there.This is the real deal. Read it!

  • Karen
    2019-01-05 10:05

    "Animal, plant, or mineral?" Seems like an innocent enough question, the opening to a familiar game. Yet if you point out that human beings fall under the "animal" category, many people will bristle. "We aren't animals," they sniff. "We're more evolved than that." And they're right, to a point. But part of that "animal" remains in our "human" nature; it leads us to fear what we don't understand, and to -- on some level -- hate what we fear. We are "better than that," and "keep up with the Joneses," and quick to push others into the mud in order to keep ourselves looking spotless. Survival of the fittest, after all, is part of evolution.OUR DAILY BREAD by Lauren B. Davis cuts to the root of "us" and "them," of human nature at its best and worst, and all the shades of grey in between. For hundreds of years, the divide between the townspeople of Gideon and the notorious Erskines on North Mountain has been reinforced, generation after generation. It's a hostile and parasitic relationship. Whispers of monstrous things occurring on a daily basis are dismissed by the townspeople -- "Well, what do you expect from the Mountain?" -- while the Erskines are quick to point out (and exploit for material gain) the hypocrisy of the good people of Gideon.Set against this powder keg are the compelling stories of a young man struggling with his identity, to escape the labels he has worn his whole life, a family in the midst of falling apart, and an older woman whose heart urges her to make a difference even as she tries to mind her own business. These characters live and breathe, are people we recognize from our own lives and are aspects of ourselves. Gideon could be anywhere, really, and deep down we know that: somehow, this could happen to us. That admission alone would keep the pages turning, but as the stakes get higher and the action speeds up, there is no putting this book down. It demands to be seen through to the end.OUR DAILY BREAD is a compassionate, insightful and riveting read, but its message lingers long after the last page is turned. There is hope for the hopeless, and those thought to be "too far gone" -- even in their own eyes -- have potential for redemption. Most of all, as human beings, we need to look at each other with kindness rather than judgement, doing our best to subdue the remnants of the beast we all carry within ourselves.

  • Christie
    2019-01-11 11:46

    Picking a book for my book club is serious business. The way our group works, we have one opportunity to pick and host per year and so you don’t want to choose a dud. The women in our group our merciless [cough] The White Iris [/cough] and it sucks to be on the receiving end of a book choice gone bad. Usually I spend a lot of time choosing my book. This year I thought I would choose something from my own massive tbr pile, but the problem was that every book I selected from my shelf was unavailable at local stores. In the end, I headed over to Indigo to peruse the shelves. The only criteria at that point was that there were enough copies on the shelf for the members of my club.In the end, I chose a book I’d never heard of but which was plastered with accolades and a bright red sticker proclaiming that it had been longlisted for the Giller in 2012. Feeling confident of its pedigree, I brought home Lauren B. Davis’s novel Our Daily Bread.Davis’s novel owes some of its gripping story to the real-life Golers from South Mountain, Nova Scotia. But Davis is quick to point out that Our Daily Bread is not ABOUT the Golers. While it’s true that Davis’s fictional Erskine family shares some similarities with the real-life family, that is only one small part of this mesmerizing and beautifully-written tale.Albert Erskine is not like the rest of his violent, drug and alcohol addicted, sexually deviant family. He has already separated himself from the pack by building himself a small shack away from the main buildings on his family’s “compound” on North Mountain. His uncle Lloyd comments on Albert’s ‘otherness’ by saying: “You don’t act like the family at all now, do you? Don’t come visiting. Live in your little shack. Course maybe you have your own parties. That it? You have kids come to see you?”It’s near impossible to trace the branches of Albert’s family tree. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of younger kids with questionable DNA and Albert regards them with a mixture of annoyance and helplessness. When ten-year-old Toots stops by his shack looking for food, Albert ponders the sticky question: “What would she be like, if she’d been raised in some other place?” Albert often wonders how he might be different if his circumstances had been different. It’s a painful road for both Albert and the reader to travel.Down in Gideon is another family with their own struggles: Tom and Patty Evans and their children Ivy and Bobby. Tom is a good man. He grew up in Gideon and is well-liked and well-known. His wife, Patty, is another story. For starters, she’s from away. And although Tom seems desperately in love with her, she seems detached and unhappy. No matter what Tom does, it’s not good enough. As the tension in the household escalates, Ivy and Bobby seek shelter elsewhere. For Ivy, it is with the benign widow Dorothy Carlisle; Bobby’s new friend and confidant turns out to be Albert Erskine. The intersection of these lives makes up the bulk of the narrative of Our Daily Bread.I am guessing that some of the women in my group will have difficulty with the graphic (but never, imo, gratuitous) nature of the subject matter. As a mother, it’s certainly upsetting to see children in peril. The interesting thing about this book is that peril means different things to different people. Is Ivy’s falling-apart life any less horrible because she has a warm bed to sleep in? The impact Bobby and Albert have on each other’s lives is astounding and heart-breaking, too. Bobby is filled with a fifteen year old’s rage and angst and it isn’t until the novel’s powerful climax that he understands the value of his father’s love.It truly is the mark of a great novel when you can empathize with so many of the characters. I loved Ivy’s resolute determination and Albert’s jaded hope and Dorothy’s refusal to bend to the will of small-town politics. And I loved Tom. A lot. As he copes with his unraveling marriage, as he asked himself the question, “How can I ever trust myself again?” I just saw so much of myself in him. But, ultimately, it all comes back to Albert. I so desperately wanted him to get in his truck and just go. I will be thinking about him for a long time.Our Daily Bread isn’t ‘light’ reading, but this is a book that will stay with you long after the final page is turned.As expected, our discussion of this book was lively and we were SO excited to be able to Tweet with Ms. Davis about her book. Here is some of our conversation:Lauren B. Davis: Oh, that’s wonderful, Christie! If you have any questions, just send me a tweet! Thanks so much. #IlovebookclubsThe Ludic Reader: Lively discussion about Our Daily Bread. @Laurenbdavis girls want to know if you think Albert ever contemplated a sexual advance towards Bobby?Lauren B. Davis‏: Not consciously, altho I do think the conditioned response of his childhood arose (pardon the pun) a few times, including that moment in the cabin the night Bobby came up to the compound with him.@bitebymichelle wants to know where the wife went.Lauren B. Davis‏: At the very end of the book? Ah, who knows. She is a lost soul, I fear. I wonder if she’ll ever come back and finally make that long walk up to the door. What do you all think?The Ludic Reader: Nobody is going to love her like Tom did, but we don’t think she’ll come back until her life is shit.The Ludic Reader: We all loved Albert so much – why did he have to die? (Altho we do know the answer.)Lauren B. Davis‏: Can’t tell you how I tried not to kill him. In the first draft he survived, but it just didn’t work. I suppose it’s the symbolic sacrifice, but to be honest, I still grieve him. I found the final scene difficult to write.The Ludic Reader: Some feel the trial was not necessary. Why did you decide to include it?Lauren B. Davis: It is rough, isn’t it? But I felt readers would want to know what happened to the abusers, and since the courtroom dialogue was taken from trial transcripts, I felt I was bearing witness to the children whose story inspired me. There was so much more of the Goler case which I did not include, because it was simply too horrible. But the response of the townspeople was important to the meaning of the book I understand the squeamishness. I felt I, too. But yes, I think it’s important to be fearless in our gaze and to speak truth to power even if our voice shakes.

  • Stephanie
    2018-12-31 11:55

    I was up very late for two nights unable to put this book down. Set between the rather decent people of a small and ordinary town and the terrifying, child-abusing clan in the mountains above, Our Daily Bread has a compelling, almost scriptural pull between good and evil, those from the town who judge in a stupid but well-meaning way, those who try to help the children, those who are too afraid to do anything. The characters are compelling: principally Tom, a beautifully portrayed father and husband who wants only to live an ordinary good life and Albert, a young man who had grown up in the clan, was bitterly abused, and who can neither stay with them or move away. He is complex, a very old soul in a young man, a young man who never been young. His final realization of what he must do to save the children - and in a way, to save his own soul - is truly terrifying. Lauren B. Davis is not afraid to ask hard questions about decency and loyalty and she does not give us easy answers. The character of Tom's daughter Ivy who must take responsibility far beyond her ten years and the decent proprietor of a small antiques store walk off the page and into your mind. The novel evoked many questions for me about goodness and evil and responsibility. Original and utterly memorable.

  • Lexie
    2019-01-20 09:54

    Tragedy and occasional instants of redemption ... how much redemption is enough to overcome lifelong injury at the hands of other people? Lauren B. Davis' first book after *The Radiant City* focuses again on people who may or may not have been ruined by experience ... Davis has an intricate understanding of what trauma does, especially when it is inflicted by other humans.Quotes:She agreed with Virginia's (Woolf) quote. An elegant life was lived by immersion in the quotidian, by honouring creation with awareness.Surely people should be made to understand that most everything was none of their business.Pride in excess was a bad thing, but a little, judiciously applied, could steel up a backbone quite nicely.Patty's face appeared in his mind's eye and he wanted to be home, to be snuggled up against his wife's delicate spine, his arm around her, cradling a soft breast, adjusting his breathing to hers."Bobby, young Bobby," he said, with a wide grin, "welcome to the real world, my man. Step right up. Learn to take it, young Bobby, because the shit keeps coming and if you don't learn to swim in it you'll drown with a mouth full of crap."They would end up like all the other couples, sitting across from each other at brightly lit tables in the food court at the shopping mall, staring at their food, not talking, not touching. It was enough to make you want to stick a fork in your eye.You had to be careful with strength. You had to know when to use it, and when to keep it tucked up under your arm.Encysted deep in every father [man] is the son he once was, who compares everything he does to what his own father did -- the old kind is dead, long live the king. You kept your mouth shut -- that was the way you learned. You let people tell you things they didn't know they were telling you. It was an art he'd learned, growing up in a place where your life depended on recognizing the slightest change in vocal inflection, the smallest shift in conversational subject."Well," said Gladys, "don't let it get you down, kid. More assholes in the world than angels. Might just as well get used to it.""How can I ever trust myself again?" he said.And there was the crux of it, really. Once you had been betrayed, not only by the woman you loved, but by your own perceptions, how could you trust yourself to make any decisions at all, about anything? It was paralysis -- physical, emotional, spiritual.The sound, the cry, came again then. Mourning made manifest. Such grief was surely as isolating, as solitary as any cell of stone or steel, as any nail and cross. Left to its own devices it would suck the entire world into the centre of its tarry core."Can't think of any good reason for you to be up there, honestly. They're not exactly your kind of people, now are they?""My kind of people? Your kind of people? What does that mean, exactly?""You know what I mean.""Yes, and that's precisely the problem, isn't it?'Once known, shameful things are never unknown.In the clarity that sometimes occurs when one drops one's troubles into the arms of Morpheus, what she must do was now obvious ..."I believe it was the Austrian writer Robert Musil who said, 'There is no truth which stupidity can't make use of.'"

  • Mohawkgrl
    2019-01-22 10:41

    I don’t know exactly what I was expecting with this novel having read the blurb before picking it up but I definitely felt many unsettling emotions not the least of which, being deeply troubled. It is after all, a fictional account loosely based on the Golar Clan of Nova Scotia. How do you actually ‘like’ a novel of this nature? Ultimately, I must rate it according to Ms Davis’ well written prose and not on the troubling subject matter. That being said, I’m not naïve as to what actually transpires in some economically and intellectually deprived homes, yet these portraits of ‘the mountain’ people, left me feeling, yet again, somewhat despairing that we live in a world filled with people completely lacking in morality and ethics. I know this is a reality for some communities across the globe. I’m not a social worker but I’m not sure anything other than an ephemeral ‘band-aide’ can be applied to people who are imprisoned in their own nightmare existence. And I do not use the word existence here lightly for this type of life is no more than that, because it certainly cannot be called ‘living’. The despair that surrounds the many who live in abject poverty and utter squalor, cannot be alleviated unless the individuals are taken out of those horrific conditions and even then, the trauma and the emotional scars left to one’s psyche, leaves the individual, I believe, marked for life. However, I’m sure that there are many others who have overcome these many obstacles surrounding similar circumstances. One would have to be extraordinarily strong emotionally speaking, to overcome and change their seemingly ill-fated lives. Add multilayer abuses to that existence and you have the makings of a horrific and soul-crushing struggle for survival.Lauren B. Davis does an excellent job of detailing the emotional suffering and often paralyzing fear that comes from such emotional and moral bankruptcy, which in this case, directly stems from inter-generational poverty. I can’t help but wonder how many children are left to their own devices and thoroughly neglected, abused and discarded in these communities, so that by the time they are adults, they in turn will perpetuate the same desperate proclivity towards their own children and this will then continue, generation after generation. Can the cycle ever be broken? I would hope so. I would hope that families and communities like these could be completely eradicated someday but I’m also aware that much has to be done. The complexities of such an endeavor could last years, if not decades.Although I know of the book On South Mountain: The Dark Secrets Of The Goler Clan, I’m not sure I have the fortitude and necessary armor required to read such an account. Just reading Davis’ novel had me putting the book down countless times in order to take a deep breath and count my many blessings.

  • Tasha-Lynn
    2019-01-08 07:53

    Why can't we give half stars too?? I am actually rating this 4.5/5. Ok just a quick review. I really liked this book a lot. I stumbled across it when we got in a shipment of books at work one day and I was very surprised (with my love of all things maritimes) that I had never heard of the Goler Clan story. I became interested instantly and actually went out and found a copy of On South Mountain. I was trying to hold off reading this till after I had read that but the reviews for it were overwhelmingly great so I gave in and started to read it. I was instantly drawn into it. The first chapters has a pretty horrid scene in it but the book itself actually wasn't as graphic as I thought it would be. I instantly fell in love with Ivy and all the mountain children. Ms Davis' writing was crisp and clear and I was easily able to imagine every scene in the book. (I'm a very visual person so this is a big deal for me). All in all this book is high on my list of "really enjoyed book"

  • Angie Abdou
    2018-12-28 10:43

    I came to this book because I admired THE EMPTY ROOM by Davis. I was surprised to find two books to be entirely different. Lauren B. Davis has incredible range. The world of OUR DAILY BREAD is full and rich and real. Readers will surprise themselves by empathizing with all characters, even those who are deeply flawed (and, the novel reminds us, deeply human). I felt I'd moved right into this small town with its gossip, betrayals, secrets, and prejudices ... and the dark, barely hidden world of "the mountain." OUR DAILY BREAD is a beautiful exploration of family life, community life, and humans under stress. Lauren B Davis is a very good writer. I felt like I read the final three chapters without taking a breath. I raced through even as I didn't want it to end.

  • Dory Adams
    2019-01-18 11:45

    Lauren B. Davis’ new novel, OUR DAILY BREAD (Wordcraft of Oregon, September 2011), is a story of insiders and outsiders – and it’s also about the difference between outsiders (community members who internalize feelings of difference) and outcasts (those who are banished by the community). The situation of the story is based on the infamous Goler clan of Nova Scotia, who were finally charged and brought to trial in the 1980s after generations of child abuse, rape, incest, and other violent crimes. In Davis’ backstory, she tells of wanting to write about how communities can marginalize people into “us” and “them.” Having lived in Nova Scotia in the early 1970s for a short time, she’d heard stories of the Goler clan, and she explains that “the extreme marginalization of the community and the terrible ostracism haunted me and it seemed the perfect framework to explore how such ordinary people could do such dreadful things, or permit such dreadful things to continue.” Set in the fictional town of Gideon, OUR DAILY BREAD is told from multiple points of view. Main characters are bread deliveryman Tom Evans and his two children, fifteen-year-old Bobby and ten-year-old Ivy; Dorothy Carlisle, a widow who owns an antique shop and befriends Ivy Evans when she is bullied by classmates walking home from school past the store; and Albert Erskine, who longs for a life different from the one he was born into and forms a friendship with younger Bobby Evans. Each of these main characters has secrets, and each feels apart from the others in their own way. At the heart of this story is loneliness through isolation, abandonment, and exclusion. Issues are substance abuse and addiction, poverty, and ignorance. The fictional Erskine clan is based on the Goler clan. The Erskine patriarch and uncles are moonshiners turned meth makers, and children on the mountain grow up terrorized, hungry, and living in dire poverty. The townspeople of Gideon turn a blind eye to what happens on the mountain as long as it stays on the mountain and doesn’t concern them. But, of course, the two worlds do not remain separate, and when the isolation of the mountain is breached by insiders and outsiders alike, events ignite.Divisions separating the characters in the town of Gideon are familial, societal, theological, and even geographical in nature. These motifs run through Davis’ work (she is the author of five books) including her terrific blog, “View From The Library Window.” A few years back I read her excellent novel THE RADIANT CITY, a book I still think about, the characters still haunting me. I was a bit hesitant about this new novel, mostly because the title and the cover image reminded me a little too much of the religious tracts and evangelical churches of my childhood, until a description labeling the novel as “backwoods noir at its best” sparked my interest. I dug a little further and found an author’s note where Davis wrote, “My family, afflicted by mental illness and alcoholism, was going through a rough time the summer I was nine. I was an only child, and adopted, and rather bookish and prone to making up stories, all of which helped to make me ‘Other’ in the eyes of some of the children in the neighborhood. That summer a lady who owned a little antique shop near my house let me hang out around the store . . . it was a refuge from loneliness and bullying and I’ve never forgotten it.” OK, now I was really interested. Reading OUR DAILY BREAD, Davis hooked me early in the first chapter, and her well-paced suspenseful story kept me spellbound for long stretches of time. I had to find out what happened next. And when I finished the book, I knew I would have a very hard time selecting what book to read next that would hold my attention and keep me turning the pages in the same way. Each of the main characters was interesting, but the most complex by far is Albert Erskine. For me, this was Albert’s story, and it will stay with me for a very long time. Davis taps into deep human emotion and shows us our own darkest and brightest sides. I highly recommend this book. (Reviewed at my blog "In This Light" at on 9/19/2011)

  • Linda
    2019-01-18 05:58

    Inspired by the story of Nova Scotia’s Goler clan, this novel about poverty and incest in an isolated mountain family shines light on the dark side of the self-described righteous. Author Lauren B. Davis compares and contrasts two families, one shunned and one an integral part of a typical small town.The socially accepted, God-fearing, righteous people of Gideon have known about ‘the mountain’ and the people who live there for generations, but except for one quiet widow, they do nothing to help. Albert Erskine, one of the mountain clan, longs to free himself from his family’s threats and takes the first step by moving to his own cabin within the family compound. Bobby, a teenage boy set to rebel against the lifestyle of his parents who are obviously unhappy, latches on to Albert as the elder brother he does not have. Bobby’s little sister Ivy confides her troubles to Dorothy Carlisle, a widowed antique shop owner who loves fine literature. Dorothy loves her quiet life but is reluctantly drawn into giving Ivy emotional support and shelter from bullies at school and a motherless home. She is also the one who has brought food and books to ‘the mountain’ for years.Davis redeems the brutality of her setting with lyrical descriptions of ugly places: “…last night, when the wind whipped the voices around the tree trunks as though lashing them to the bark, when the rain had banged on the doors like tiny fists, when the wet had dripped through the roof like tears and the chill had crept in through the chinks like an orphan.” Many scenes in the book are brutal, violent and raw, like real life is for many children. Some readers may be put off by this, but the story, though terrifying, grabs hold from the start and will not let go. I had to find out what happened to the characters I liked and cared about, though I grew more afraid for them with every page. All too often, mainstream society turns away from the worst in people, not wanting to look at the ugliness, allowing incest and child abuse to go on for generations.The friendships between Albert and Bobby, and between Ivy and Dorothy, are parallel threads running straight to the heart-pounding climax. As we suspect, some people do terrible things, some overcome their fears, and love and hope survive. But not before Davis has forced us to look at ourselves and who we call “the others.”

  • Kris - My Novelesque Life
    2019-01-10 08:46

    4.5 STARSInspired by true events - In Davis's haunting story we meet Albert Erskine, a smart 21 year old who sells weed to make money. He and his family are shunned by the town of Gideon and are called the "Mountain People". Living among his clan, Albert has seen and been through many horrors and it has caused him to become more frustrated and angry.Soon Albert becomes a mentor to a young boy in town names Bobby Evans. Bobby and his family also do not fit in among the religious town people. His father, Tom is well-liked but is ridiculed for his younger wife's unfaithfulness. Ivy, his sister, is brilliant but bullied by girls in her class. Her only friend is Dorothy, the 60-something widow who owns the antique shop. Dorothy sees the righteousness attitude in her peers and tries to stay away from them. As we get to know these characters that are considered the "others" in Gideon Davis also shows what can happen when we let some people int our life.After dinner one night I sat down to start Our Daily Bread, hoping that I could finish the novel in the next few days, in time for my book cub meeting. The next time I came up for air was when the novel finished. The way Davis grabs you from the beginning with her characters and plot is amazing. Even if you cannot relate to the characters personally you can empathize and feel for them. These are not good or bad people but normal people with every day flaws. I found myself attached to all the characters - loving and hating them or their actions.The story, even if it was not based on true events, still lingers in my mind and I think about it time to time. It was a book we all liked in my book club and it provided us with a great conversation. I recommend this novel to everyone who appreciates an absorbing novel and loves words.

  • Erin Hopkin (née Rayfield)
    2019-01-04 09:52

    I found this novel while perusing the 2012 Giller Prize Long List and thought it sounded interesting: it turned out to be one of the best books I had ever read. For those that have not read it, Our Daily Bread is a gritty and sometimes depressing novel that deals with such issues as poverty, isolation, incest, child abuse, drug use, division within society and communities, and how we treat our neighbours. It was inspired by the true life story of the Goler Clan in Nova Scotia and follows Albert Erskine, a young member of the Erskine Mountain Clan, in his struggle to change the future for him and his young siblings.I found this novel to be truly unputdownable. I was drawn in from the first chapter and the last few chapters made it impossible to put down. I found that the characters were well developed and believable, our favorites being Tom and Ivy. Both were beautifully portrayed and somewhat tragic. I felt connected to the characters and cared about the outcome of their struggles. There are many authors whose attempts to write novels from multiple viewpoints, by varying characters, fail – resulting in characters that seem very similar. Lauren Davis had no trouble differentiating between viewpoints and writing each in a way that was believable for the character who was narrating.When it came to the main character, Albert, I sympathized with his struggle to overcome his upbringing and become a better person. However, I worried for Bobby and felt Albert was a bad influence. My overall opinion of Our Daily Bread is that Lauren Davis did excellent job with a topic most people would be scared to write about. Lauren dealt with a sensitive subject without being graphic; creating a powerful story through insinuation and inference. Full review here:

  • Nancy
    2019-01-16 06:39

    Albert Erskine is one of the mountain people. He was born there, raised there and still is there, albeit in his own one-room shack away from everyone else. He lived through the hell that serves for growing up in his clan. He endures sodomy, sex with his mother, burns, whippings, little love and absolutely no salvation. Just like the young children in his family today.Bobby Evans is a typical sullen teen. His mother has left the home, his little sister Ivy cries a lot, his dad is lost in life. He thinks he has it bad. He hasn’t a clue. Then he meets Albert and finds the big brother he never had.What happens when these two collide is beyond imagination. The children of the mountain want to die; Ivy wants to be a rockhound and wants dad to hunt with her. An amazing woman named Dorothy Carlisle has been secretly trying to help the mountain children for years and finds it easy to assist Ivy in her loneliness by having her help in Dorothy’s antique shop. Above all of this in their small town world of Gideon is the Church of Christ Returning, whose parishioners can gossip their lives away but can’t be bothered to lift their hands in assistance. What happens in this story is horrible – beyond it, in fact but what happens in this story will change you. I made me hate my fellow man because, although this is a tale of fiction – it is based on the truth and that’s something I will never forget. “Deliverance” my foot – this is the real story!

  • Loretta
    2018-12-29 10:44

    Thanks to GritLit Hamilton for introducing me to this amazing author. After hearing Lauren speak and read from her new book "The Empty Room" enticed me to start reading her novels. I was not disappointed! "Our Daily Bread" is a fantastic book. It pulled me in from the first page and never let go. The story is about the Erskine clan that live in the mountains and the people who live in the town below. It's about poverty, substance abuse, child abuse, spousal abuse, ignorance, bullying, and other injustices occurring in people's lives. It demonstrates how human beings can be so cruel to each other no matter our station in life. How some people choose to ignore or turn a blind eye to the injustices and not attempt to help the "others." The writing and the storytelling is excellent and engrossing. I developed personal feelings for all the characters: some broke my heart, others I hated and wanted to cause them physical pain, a couple I wanted to smack upside the head for being so stupid! Then there is Dorothy who I fell in love with, and Albert who evoked such mixed feelings within me and is the most captivating character in the story. Looking forward to my next Lauren B. Davis novel >>> The Empty Room. Stayed tuned and I will let you know what I thought about that one.Happy Reading!

  • Naomi Byrnes
    2019-01-20 06:48

    This was a confronting read from the very earliest pages. I wanted to stop, given the subject matter. However, the dedication that Davis chose compelled me to keep reading and not look away: 'this book is dedicated to the children, like those of the Goler Clan, whose pleas fall on deaf ears'. The story highlights how strongly society vetoes directly 'interfering' with parental behaviour towards their kids in all socio-economic levels. The only reason I gave four stars and not five is that I felt there were some areas where the plot and character was a bit forced. Also, the narrative may have benefited from some relief - either with more likeable characters or sardonic humour. It is a very gruelling tale, however I found I couldn't put the book down as the story built to its closing chapters. Thank you for telling his very important story!

  • Paul Bond
    2019-01-18 10:01

    Harper Lee's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD made vivid the joys and sorrows of one small town riven into many insular communities, and so took unsparing stock of a nation's character. In OUR DAILY BREAD, Lauren Davis has brought that same clear-eyed generosity into the age of mega churches and crystal meth.Despite the title, OUR DAILY BREAD does not preach, but listens, and records, and honors, and mourns, and celebrates. This is a page-turning account of life in the small town in which we all live, rendered in shadows and light. Not to be missed.

  • Ann
    2019-01-20 12:51

    Blew through this very quickly. The story moves briskly and, while it is a work of fiction, is inspired by the real-life Goler family saga. Having recently re-watched the documentary on the Goler clan of Nova Scotia, this story was particularly interesting to me. The setting is relocated to an unnamed part of the US but all the other parallels are there. Some verbatim quotes from Goler testimony are used. Given the subject matter it had a few cringe-worthy moments, but those were few and the story line was balanced with threads about other characters who lived "off the mountain."

  • Arah-Leah Hay
    2018-12-25 12:48

    STUNNING. POWERFUL. CHILLING.This is a beautiful story inspired by The Goler Clan of Nova Scotia. It is about love and loss, unspeakable horrors and unlikely friendships. It was impossible to put down and unforgettable. With gorgeous and graceful prose this book was pure pleasure to read. I cannot recommend it highly enough. This is storytelling at its finest. 5 STARS!!

  • Hannah
    2019-01-04 10:44

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was instantly drawn to it the moment I started reading. Being from the Maritimes added an additional level of intrigue. There are some disturbing scenes but overall, it isn't overly graphic. The relationships are well developed and the plot kept me interested until the end. Recommended read!

  • Lebrown
    2019-01-22 11:37

    I read this book over two nights. Although parts were hard to read (I did not want those images in my head!), I loved this story and some of the characters really left an impression. I was sorry when it ended, as it's been a while since I had a book that I considered a "good read". I will definitely try to pick up another Lauren B. Davis book.

  • Jennww2ns
    2019-01-15 05:57

    Wow. This has got to be one of the most well written books I've ever read. The characters, the plot, the pacing, everything was just amazing. It's one of those books that sticks with you long after you finish reading.

  • Chrissy
    2018-12-26 05:05

    I ordered this book through my local Coles store and devoured it in 48 hours. It is, unfortunately, based on the horrifyingly true story of the Goler Clan of South Mountain in my beautiful province of Nova Scotia. The clan was known far and wide as a group of relatives who lived in the mountains, were dirt poor, and engaged in incest, bootlegging, and extreme physical battering of generation after generation of children. The behavior was so ingrained in the clan and in the townspeople, that it was overlooked and ignored, chalked up to the "mountain mentality".Even hundreds of kilometers away in the small village I grew up in, the term "Goler" was used to refer to anyone who was dirty, secretive, lived in the backwoods, or had questionable family members. I was well into adulthood before becoming aware that "Goler" was actually a last name, not a creature like a hag or goblin.The truth about the clan and all the traumatic, disgusting history came to light when one Goler girl told a teacher what was going on. The teacher was from away and therefore contacted the police and was lucky to reach an officer who was also from away and not so ready to ignore what was going on."Our Daily Bread" looks at the story from the points of view of Dorothy, a kindhearted woman from town, and Albert, a young man who was tormented as a member of the Erskine clan of North Mountain. Dorothy struggles with demons of her own, of neighbors trying to save her soul, of being aware of the trouble on the mountain and trying to help without being noticed, and being torn between wanting to be left alone and wanting to help little Ivy Evans, whose mother is from "away" and whose brother has taken up with Albert.Albert lives in a camp on the mountain where he was molested and raped by his uncles, his mother and other relatives his entire life. He runs a marijuana growing operation and struggles with his desire for a better life, and his responsibility to protect the smaller children who live in the clan compound as well. When he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Bobby Evans, he sees a young boy who he wants to bot befriend and control. He gets Bobby involved in robbery, underage drinking, using drugs and finally, at Bobby's insistence, takes him to the mountain, crossing a line with the clan.Without giving away the nail biting ending, Bobby's and Ivy's father Tom joins ranks with Dorothy as a quiet hero, and the truth of North Mountain is exposed.Many characters throughout the book struggle with finding their place in the world as an outsider, a townie,or as mountain. Some demand control of their place and use hate and fear to keep it, others shift about not sure where their place is, others beg and plead to find a place, and others need to go far away to discover where they ought to be. I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted to glimpse at life in the mountains - anywhere in North America, where stories similar and disturbingly familiar take place. A word of caution, although Lauren Davis spares the reader the most disgusting and mind numbing truths that came out with the Goler Clan, this book still contains horrific acts upon children that are disturbing to read.

  • Julie
    2019-01-11 07:36

    This book surprised me on how much I enjoyed it. As I was reading experts from the book, I did question if the book would be the right one for me. The topic matter, from the description and experts had me worried, so I was very wary about it. Surprisingly, the book ended up being a lot different than I expected. Although it was dark and twisted it ended up being a fantastic read, where I was frantically reading to the end during the climax of the book. Although the book touches on some horrific subject matter, it's almost entirely implied and never explained until the end at the trials. But what was implied to what happens up in the mountains, is just as tense, shocking and horrifying as it would be to the reader if it was explained. I much prefer it all implied, as the book is a heavy book to read. It's dark and twisted. It has some great passages that were wonderfully written, but it was a dark and twisted book. Filled with dark and twisted characters, who you rarely see, but are there lurking in the background, which I found added something to the whole reading experience. The characters the reader does get to experience up close, where incredibly well written. Although in the latter half of the book, a few characters (Ivy for example) stories were almost completely forgotten and not as wrapped up as I would have liked, for the most part the characters were well developed. The cast of characters are ones who do stay with you after the book is finished. Albert, for example stays with you long after you finish the book. I can't say he's a character I liked, but he's a character that leaves an imprint on the reader. A dark and twisted story, but one I had a hard time putting down - it was an incredible read! Also on my book review blogJules' Book Reviews - Our Daily Bread

  • Dar
    2018-12-25 12:40

    My book club selected this and I didn't want to read it. It is based on a true story about poor, isolated "mountain folk" who were discovered to have perpetrated generations of sexual and physical abuse and incest. I was convinced it would be an unrelenting litany of violence and ignorance. Chapter 1, though very disturbing, was restrained enough that I thought, OK, I will continue. Chapters 2 and 3 furthered the story from different characters' points of view, giving the reader a little breathing space. By then I was hooked. I think the author is brilliant for choosing narrative techniques that don't overwhelm the reader with misery, allowing us to get deep into the story and to care about the people. She steered clear of sensationalism and pathos. The prose was not flowery but had moments of breathtaking beauty. There was a galloping strong plot that left me unable to put the book down during the final third. Best of all, it left me with a feeling of compassion rather than disgust. NOTE: The news story on which the book was based happened in my home province in the 1980s. I was young at the time and purposely didn't follow the grisly case. I went back and read some news accounts, and was greatly consoled by the efforts made to address the root causes of the problems.

  • David Henry
    2019-01-22 10:02

    Sometimes I am very foolish. Like in taking so long to read a Lauren Davis novel. I loved it, absolutely loved it, although there were a few gritty parts that, although necessary for the power of this wonderful story, left me deft me disturbed and putting the book down for the night a little earlier than I had expected. Full disclosure: I know Lauren Davis. If I had not liked the book, that would have been uncomfortable for me, and I suspect that's the reason I waited so long to read one of hers. For me it was a fast read. By page 50 I was fully engaged by the clean, smooth writing that opened my heart to the very real, very human characters in their very real lives, and their very real efforts, sometimes heroic, to make a life.By page 60 I had started underlining and making comments in the margins, expecting I would want to reread some of it. Comments like "nice", and "beautiful", and "wow".At the end if feels more satisfying that many other books I have read, and the journey it brought me on was different. I want to run out and call everyone's attention to it, to cut through the scrambled messages that fill the media and say "This book matters. Read it. Enjoy it."

  • Rebecca Kenny
    2019-01-23 04:46

    This was exactly my kind of book....messed up! Based on actual events of the Goler Clan, it is a story of a small righteous town with the "us" against "them" mentality. Even though the townspeople knew something evil was going on with the clan who lived on the mountain, no one ever did anything about it until an unlikely friendship formed between one of them and a troubled teen in town. I could not put this book down. The author did such a fantastic job of character development and her descriptions of the environment actually made me gag. I felt like I was a part of hillbilly land and the bible thumping town. The character of Albert was very likeable even though he was from the mountain, his inner dialogue made me giggle at times in a dark sort of way ie: referring to an elderly lady as an "old sack of skin". One never knew what was going to happen next and the ending was very sobering and horrifying. Actual testimony was used from the real Goler clan court case. Great read, I would love to read more from this author.

  • Kaitlin
    2018-12-23 05:49

    Not only does this novel delve into the underbelly of society, leaving the reader wondering what you really lock out of your house at night, but it is written with an eloquence that allows the reader to begin to understand what it is like to be considered "The Other".Each character in this novel has a sense of feeling like they don't belong, whether that means that said character is a man living on a mountain, a ten year old girl that finds friendship in an older woman, a husband realizing that the whole town saw what he couldn't or a God-fearing congregation in search of their shepherd. This novel has a character that every reader can relate to, it is difficult to read at times and the prose is very effective. My favourite paragraph is the very last one to appear on page 274. When I read that sentence (The entire paragraph is one perfectly crafted sentence), it was as if time and sound and the world had stopped and I was right there with Albert.

  • Tanaz
    2018-12-26 04:53

    Chilling, thought-provoking and beautifully written, Our Daily Bread revolves around Albert, a man struggling to break away from the family he was born into, a mountain clan where children are forced to grow up far too quickly. When Albert befriends Bobby Evans, a boy from a nearby town, and takes him up to the mountain, tragedy strikes, leaving the mountain and the town of Gideon forever changed.What I really loved about this book were the vivid descriptions of the setting and the characters; the writer's command of language and characterization is exquisite. I'm not surprised this book was longlisted for the Giller Prize. A must read for anyone looking for a dark, tense, well-paced literary novel.

  • Greg
    2019-01-10 12:45

    Compassion has become an old-fashioned concept, particularly in our age of polarization with its seemingly unbridgeable chasms between us, them, rich, poor, East, West, North, South, Muslims, everyone else, religious, irreligious, black, white, literate, illiterate, Mexican immigrants, Americans, liberals, conservatives, Syrian immigrants and most other nations. It’s easy to disregard our shared humanity when the world is reduced to oversimplified labels. In this fine, fine novel Davis looks at some sad and horrifying consequences when we let hypocritical rationalizations stand between us and compassion for others. The story takes its inspiration from the real-life tragedy of the Goler clan of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Highly recommended.

  • Julie Taylor
    2019-01-11 06:49

    After reading the reviews, I thought this would be a much different book than what I read. It focused very little on what actually "happens" with the Mountain family and instead on themes like recreating who you are, loss, danger, empathy, and the myriad of complexities that go into being a full person. And thank goodness for that, because when details of life on the Mountain do come up, they are gruesome.The writing is wonderful and the author clearly loves her characters dearly.I didn't give it 5 stars because I found chunks of it didn't engage me, but I suspect that's a fault with me and not the book itself. A faster reader, or one with more time on their hands won't find that same problem.