From an award-winning author comes a wise and tender coming-of-age story about a nine-year-old girl who runs away from her Mississippi home in 1963, befriends a lonely woman suffering loss and abuse, and embarks on a life-changing roadtrip.
Whistling past the graveyard. That’s what Daddy called it when you did something to keep your mind off your most worstest fear. . . .
In the summer of 1963, nine-year-old Starla Claudelle runs away from her strict grandmother’s Mississippi home. Starla’s destination is Nashville, where her mother went to become a famous singer, abandoning Starla when she was three. Walking a lonely country road, Starla accepts a ride from Eula, a black woman traveling alone with a white baby. Now, on the road trip that will change her life forever, Starla sees for the first time life as it really is—as she reaches for a dream of how it could one day be.
Known for her romantic suspense novels, Crandall takes a fumbling step into book club style women s fiction with a derivative, if well-intentioned, Civil Rights era bildungsroman. Stubborn, sassy, nine-year-old Starla Jane Claudelle lives with her grandmother Mamie in smalltown Mississippi. Her father works on an oil rig and her mother has been absent since Starla was three, seeking her fortune as a singer in Nashville. After a series of misbehaviors, Starla runs away, fearing her grandmother s discipline and hoping for a reunion with her mother. Along the way, she meets Eula, an African-American woman who has taken custody of a white baby, much to her abusive, alcoholic husband s dismay. Starla and Eula soon find themselves on the run together, dodging one-dimensional racists and receiving assistance from wise and accepting African-Americans. Starla s fiery independence makes her a likeable narrator, which compensates somewhat for the underdeveloped adult characters and unbelievable plot points. While Starla s story lacks the elegance of The Secret Life of Bees or the emotional intensity of The Dry Grass of August, fans of simple feel-good coming-of-age tales set in the 1960s such as Saving CeeCee Honeycutt will enjoy the ride.
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I really enjoyed reading this book. Now this is the second book by Susan Crandall that I have picked up. The first one was The Myth of Perpetual Summer. I wasn't disappointed in both of books that I have picked up by this author. The way Susan writes is amazing you almost feel like you are watching a movie instead of reading a book. I never get bored reading her books. And fall in love or sad with characters. How Susan brings the characters to life is amazing. This book brings up things that happened in the 1960's. Racism and how real it was back then. And now in 2019 how it still effects people.
This story takes place in 1963 in Mississippi. Our main character is a little named Starla who lives with her grandmother. Well her daddy works on the rigs and her momma lives in Nashville. Starla and her grandma really don't have a good relationship. Starla is always getting into trouble. Starla decides to runaway to be with her mother. When starting her trip she meets a older black woman name Eula. Who tells Starla she can help her get to her mother. That's when things start happening to these two. And Starla starts a kinda mother/daughter relationship with Eula. These two find themselves going to Nashville together. And never giving up and remaining close. I love how the author bought these two characters together. How they looked after each other no matter what happened. I highly recommend this book and any other of Susan Crandall books.
GREAT read. Gets you feeling all sorts of emotions. Its happy, sad, overwhelming.. All at once. Highly reccomend!!
Smartly written through the eyes of a witty red-head girl, this book will make you cry, smile, and ponder things beyond America's history.