With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.
Graphic novelist Leia Birch Briggs is single, pregnant with a biracial baby, and unsure of her baby's father's name. All she knows is he was dressed like Batman and her last FanCon included a night she will never forget. Meanwhile, her stepsister's marriage is unraveling, the deadline for her next comic book is quickly approaching despite her massive case of writer's block, and her grandmother has a form of dementia she's been keeping hidden for years. When Leia arrives at her grandmother's home in Alabama to help get her affairs in order, she realizes the illness isn't the only secret being kept. There's a trunk of bones in the attic, and Grandma Birchie doesn't want anyone to know whose they are. Jackson has packed in all the drama needed for a fast-paced summer read, but this isn't your average beach book. Dark secrets and racism plague Grandma Birchie's seemingly charming southern town, and Leia will soon find that real-life villains aren't as easy to identify as the ones in her comic books.
Customer ReviewsSee All
While I got a little lost in all the comic book references, it was still a good read. There were twists right up to the last
Enjoyable and engaging book — until the conclusion. Throughout the book I kept thinking how much I liked this author and that I’d like to read more of her works, but the ending was unsatisfying and disappointing, and felt .... unfinished.
It appears that Ms. Jackson tired of her story a little early, and rushed the ending, almost in an effort to “just be done with it”. The conclusion feels “mushed” together and dumped on the reader.
Up to that point, however, the story was well developed and a joy to read.
Great read. Thank you. Kept my attention and loved the characters.