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Descripción de la editorial
John McMillan was only eight years old when his mother died and he was ripped, without warning, from his sheltered world of books and gentility. Now on his aunt's run-down tenant farm in southern Alabama, abused by his alcoholic uncle, and completely bereft, John longs for escape--his only hope for survival. He's about to get his wish in a way no one could ever predict....A twist of fate will bring John to the Bend, a black settlement that has become a refuge for outcasts, where he'll join Tuway, a black man who helps others leave the South and find a new life in Chicago. But neither will be ready for the brutal confrontation about to change their lives, challenge the prejudice of an era, inspire the courage of a people, and most of all, touchingly reveal the secrets of one boy's heart.
This affecting Southern coming-of-age novel continues the story of John McMillan, the bright but overprotected eight-year-old boy introduced, in a minor role, in Devoto's debut novel (My Last Days as Roy Rogers). When his widowed mother dies in the mid-1950s, John is taken by her sister, his Aunt Nelda Spraig, from his comfortable home in northern Alabama to the small town of Lower Peach Tree in Alabama's Black Belt. There he is shocked to learn that Nelda and her family live in a dog-trot house, with no indoor plumbing or electricity. John suffers the brutality of his alcoholic Uncle Luther, who forces him to hoe cotton under a hot sun until his eyes swell shut and his skin blisters, who sells off all of the boy's family possessions and whips him with a belt. John's spirits begin to lift, however, when he is taken under the wing of kindly "Judge" Bryon Vance. The president of the local bank, the Judge makes reasonable crop loans to sharecroppers, thus incurring the enmity of the white landowners. Working as an office and yard boy for the blind Judge, John learns that "the coloreds" are slipping out of town, reportedly headed for Chicago. But how do they manage to leave, since they don't have money for train fare and don't own automobiles? The solution to the mystery seems to lie with Tuway, the Judge's awe-inspiring black right-hand man and general factotum whose life becomes interwoven with John's. Devoto's narrative voice is sometimes awkward; factual details (historical, geographic and agricultural) often feel stuffed into the story. Moreover, we seem to have met these characters before in To Kill a Mockingbird and other classics of Southern literature. Their familiar story is a haunting one, however; part of the fabric of American life, it bears frequent retelling.