The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

by Christopher Scotton

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"A marvelous debut...has everything a big, thick novel should have, and I hated to put it down." - John Grisham

"A page-turner." - New York Times Book Review

For readers of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, this is a dramatic and deeply moving novel about an act of violence in a small Appalachian town and the repercussions that will forever change a young man's view of human cruelty and compassion.

After seeing the death of his younger brother in a terrible home accident, fourteen-year-old Kevin and his grieving mother are sent for the summer to live with Kevin's grandfather. In this town of Medgar, Kentucky, a peeled-paint coal town deep in Appalachia, Kevin quickly falls in with a half-wild hollow kid named Buzzy Fink who schools him in the mysteries and magnificence of the woods.

The town is beset by a massive mountaintop removal operation that is blowing up the hills and back filling the hollows. Kevin's grandfather and others in town attempt to rally the citizens against the "company" and its powerful owner to stop the plunder of their mountain heritage. But when Buzzy witnesses a brutal hate crime, a sequence is set in play that will test Buzzy and Kevin to their absolute limits in an epic struggle for survival in the Kentucky mountains.

*Includes Reading Group Guide*

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538729069
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 02/27/2018
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 769,286
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Christopher Scotton is an experienced public speaker, seminar leader, online marketer and technology entrepreneur. After a stint as a venture capitalist, he joined his third start-up, a computer-aided design (CAD) software company, where he is currently President and CEO. Scotton is a recognized expert and frequent speaker on search engine marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing and online lead generation.

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The Secret Wisdom of the Earth 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have seldom given a book five stars, but this one is most deserving. The author takes you into that time and place and keeps you there until the end of the book when you reluctantly put it down, knowing it will be a good long while until you read another wonderful story. It is hard to believe this is a debut novel, and I sincerely hope it is not the last.
bluekaren More than 1 year ago
This was about as real as a story can get. The Secret Wisdom of the Earth featured small town prejudices, old family rules, tragedy, and the losing/finding of oneself. This book was very engrossing and encompassed every thing I love about a good book. I have to admit that the beginning started kind of slow. Written by a male, the writing reflects a bit of the technical aspects of a boy in his youth. I kept reading because I enjoyed the slow build up. I really felt like I got to know the characters and the town of Medger enough to picture myself there. By chapter two I could understand that this book didn’t need the feminine style of writing to draw emotion out of me. The characters have so much depth it is almost written as if it was a memoir. A real person can feel like this, can remember like this. The story builds up to an adventure that changes the lives of the characters, and indeed the whole town, involved. This is an epic coming of age that I easily see becoming a movie. I spent two hours after reading this book crying inconsolably. I don’t think that the book was meant to draw that kind of emotion. I just grew so attached to the characters that I wept even harder knowing the story was actually over. I can’t go back now and feign ignorance of their fate. I want to very badly. These characters have become like my own kin, and I wish I could turn back the clock and move to Medger to be close to them. It is hard to believe this was a debut novel! Does this author understand how absolutely profound this story is? This book was one of the best stories I have ever read, and an experience for me that I will not soon forget.
FallonWilloughby More than 1 year ago
There are bad books, okay books, good books, profound books, many more kinds of books and books that settle in your soul. This book is a soul settler. I am an avid reader, but these books are those rare gems you happily stumble across at the moment when you most need them. A book that deals with so many different hard truths, it captures you from the beginning and takes you along on the journey. There are stories within the larger coming of age story, and each play their part in Kevin’s understanding of the town, the people, and the world he is growing up in. As each piece falls into place, we see things we are so familiar with, and often, find a tiny piece of our self reflected back. We feel emotions for the characters, for the animals, and the for Earth. In the beginning of this novel, part of the reason you keep reading is because you wish to know what so tragically happened to Kevin’s little brother. It is a secret well kept, and barely mentioned, until about half way through. However, that is not the only heartbreaking tale Kevin must face during his summer with his Pops. Pops is a griping character, full of life and passion, yet held back by his own grief. In many of the people surrounding Kevin, I could see versions of others I have known in my own small Kentucky home. One of my favorite quotes that truly resonated with me was: “I held her and she cried into my shoulder so deeply that I could feel the sorrow from her soul blending completely and profoundly with my own.” The Kentucky backdrop is important to me, because I am from Kentucky myself, though no where near mining country. I am familiar with many of the things that pop in this novel, and loved the historical aspects. The subject matter that this book deals with – the death of a child, hatred, prejudice, environmental issues, jobs vs nature, and more are all large matters that still mean so much to the world and are so relevant today. Perhaps all in all, this novel spoke to my soul simply because the past few months have been full of my own hard truths and heartbreaks, but wonderful moments and life changing events. I have a son who is fixing to be one year old, and I just prayed that nothing like this ever happened to him, as all mothers do when reading tragic stories. As I have grown, the Earth has started to mean more to me, and though moutaintop removal is nothing I have to deal with personally, I could not imagine the life where it is. This book brings all of these things forward. As I said, it is a soul settler. It is hard to believe it is Christopher Scotton‘s first novel, and as a writer I hope there are hidden copies of many other novels hidden somewhere. As a reader, I will avidly gather up whatever comes next. Beautifully done.
SKS40 More than 1 year ago
This a wonderful book. I could not put it down and it had the perfect ending. I can't wait to read this author's next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has everything you might imagine when Gray Mountain meets Huck Finn. It's a coming of age story and back woods adventure for a teenage boy that is filled with the warmth of family and the longevity of relationships, good and bad, in a small town. Add to that issues of social justice surrounding an anti-gay hate crime and environmental destruction associated with strip mining. Thus, plenty of drama throughout. It has a surprisingly satisfying ending as well. I was sorry to see the book end as I had become so fond of and curious about its characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A touching story beautifully told. Solid proof that some authors can write stories about decent folks without relying on contrived violence or immorality to carry the story line. Should be required reading in all writing classes and by all men who want to be a grandfather one day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The setting is in 1985 in the Applachian Mountains. The story of 13 year old Kevin and the death of his younger brother. His father drops Kevin and his mother, who is in a state of shock, off at his grandfather's. His father blaming Kevin for his brother's death. Then the complications of mountain top mining comes into play with the family's summer. A great read!
Reading_on_Maui More than 1 year ago
First, I have to say it is hard to get a 5 with me. Others may give this a five but I save that for truly exceptional books. That being said, I enjoyed reading this and found myself unwilling to put it down when the hour got late or other things were clamoring for my time. I found the characters interestingly developed and I cared for them by the time I had to say good by. The thought that lingers with me after reading it is the things we say and do to protect ourselves when something goes wrong. In the case of this book, the father is a character I think about frequently and how things could have been handled better and the outcome changed greatly. But that is just one point of discussion. There are many topics that would lend it to a book group discussion and I think most of the readers will find it well worth the time.
Midnight_ReaderMA More than 1 year ago
I'm always on the hunt for a good book, and this one came up on my radar a few weeks ago. As soon as it was released I bought it for the Nook. What a good decision that was! I began the book that Saturday and read steadily over the next couple of days. Wow! What a great story! But what kind of review should I write? At first I was too stunned to even decide what I thought. You see, this is a book of layers. It is about so many different things, and yet the threads of the story are so well intertwined you hardly notice it as the many themes and story lines are happening at once. So, in as few sentences as I can, here is what the book is about. Following the death of his little brother in a horrific accident, 14 year-old Kevin and his mom go to live with his grandfather in the Appalachian coal mining community of Medgar, Kentucky. Kevin bonds with a local boy named Buzzy who is wise in the ways of the woods, and Kevin’s grandfather employs him as an assistant in his large animal vet practice. Just when it seems that the book will be a standard coming-of-age novel other themes emerge in rapid succession. This book is about environmental issues, the relationships between sons and fathers, economic greed, poverty, struggles for power, and the destructive force of homophobia. It is a murder mystery and a heroic wilderness survival story. It is a story about friendship, values, healing, and redemption. I was captured by the story, entranced by the beautiful narrative, and stunned by the turns in the plot. Wow! It was a fantastic read!
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
For the first time, I feel like a jerk for giving something three stars as opposed to four, because at its heart “The Secret Wisdom of the Earth” is a solid four-star novel.  There are some plot flaws that made me feel the need to dock a star, and they may not bother others, so please research other reviews along with mine to determine if this novel is right for you. “The Secret Wisdom of the Earth” is a coming-of-age tale in the slice-of-life tradition.  It meanders through the beautiful world of the Kentucky mountains, creating a respect within the reader for the beauty and fragility of nature.  Mixed in are the very real issues of coal mining, poverty, and homophobia.  All are handled in a realistic and unflinchingly honest way. The main characters of Kevin, Pops, and Buzzy are likable and flawed, making them people whom those from all walks of life can relate.  The supporting characters are all given complex stories and personalities that make you want to sit around at the diner and get to know them better. Given all of these positives, you may be wondering why the three-star rating.  The problem comes at the end.  While some issues were not resolved, and should not have been, there were others that were not addressed at all, leaving the reader with no closure.  On the opposite end, there was too much closure in the epilogue, with as many personal details crammed in as possible.  It cluttered what would have been such a great book had the ending simply addressed the initial themes as opposed to ignoring them for the minor details. I don’t regret reading “The Secret Wisdom of the Earth”, but I do have mixed feelings about it.  I can neither recommend nor not recommend this novel. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to say this book is very well written. The author develops his characters and the scenery beautifully. Its almost as if you are right there with Pops, Kevin, and Buzzy. However, there are a couple of things I didn't like about this book. Sometimes it got a bit wordy. Frankly I found myself skimming over some pages. Another negative about this book, in my opinion, is how animals are treated. They are either eaten or beaten in some cases. But that's just my opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I normally don't care for "colloquial" wording but this was such a wonderful story.... I couldn't put it down.  The characters were well defined and I could almost "see" them!!
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth is one of those rare long books that don’t feel long. Carrying the reader to a different time and place, author Christopher Scotton describes scenery and its loss in loving detail, peoples town and mountain with genuinely flawed human beings, and offers heart-searching hope. With scars on the land paralleling those that grow on the human psyche, with things that can and can’t heal, and with perfectly timed revelations, the present life of a wounded teen, the past of a wounded grandfather, and the future of a broken mountain all come together. Bound up in it all are human demands and expectations, competing needs and greeds, and the cruel fire of moral rectitude that can turn love to hate as surely as a mountain-top blown away. The characters feel real. The trek through wilderness is haunting and unforgettable. And the trek through regrets, slowly turning hearts from what’s lost to what’s yet to come, is wisely offered, a legend for our times. There’s just the right touch of coincidence, just the right touch of mystical hope, and just the right touch of righteous understanding… I love this book. Disclaimer: A friend loaned it to me. Thank you Jean.
Lynn-MI More than 1 year ago
This was a heartwarming, heartbreaking novel --- well written, well plotted with some of the most interesting characters of a small town. His trip through the mountains with his grandfather, friend – living off the land is just a love of the land --- the tragedies that happen there are even more tragic and yet the wisdom of the earth brings out survivors! Reminded me of Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Walton’s Mountain! Not enough stars to truly rate this story – was sorry when it ended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
crossword69 More than 1 year ago
Truly beautiful book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book but withheld a star because the writing, while well done, at times was too verbose and i lost interest or began to skim. Especially true during the boys tramp with Pops. Speaking of Pops, he was almost too perfect. Finally, the final chapter about the move ahead to the present day did not ring true. Aside from those minor complaints, the book held my i interest and i got a real sense of what was going on in a mining town in that era. And it made me wish i could raise a boy to learn to trap and hike and be self reliant. ,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely one of the best books I've ever read. I laughed, I cried, I couldn't put it down. This is one I'll remember.
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Luv2Nook More than 1 year ago
Lovely. Just lovely!! Hard to believe this is a first novel. The characters were alive and complex. Look forward to more by this author!
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Name:durrrrrr:age:old enough:build:a skinny but with broad sholders :looks:dark brown with carmel eyes she has no tounge Anything eles ask her