Review by Patrick R McDonough
LaRocca’s first taste of cult classic status was last year’s novella, Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke. I have no doubt in my mind that this year’s release of We Can Never Leave This Place will obtain just as much fanfare, maybe even more. For good reason, too.
LaRocca tells the story through the eyes of a little girl. What’s not to love about witnessing life through a child’s eyes? An imagination that has not yet been tamped down by adulthood, by those demanding the child grow up.
Let’s pull back just for a second, back to the title itself. I wouldn’t claim to prefer one type of title over another, but when done right, using a phrase for a title can’t be beat. Phrases that either capture the theme or are interlaced within the character’s dialogue are always fascinating to read. LaRocca is one of the most ingenious and creative writers to date in this regard. Who is “we?” and why can they–or us–never leave some place? Metaphor? All part of the discovery as you read along.
What LaRocca does is a science—mixing just enough fuel and oxygen and that spark, that event or gruesome imagery that sets the rest of the pages on fire. WCNLTP will yank at every heart string, tear out every cry, because this story is about a little girl who wants what we all want.