Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tell a Tale: The Dry Grass of August

Considering what month we're in,
I thought this might be a good time to tell you about one of my new favourite books!

Summary (from Goodreads):
In this beautifully written debut, Anna Jean Mayhew offers a riveting depiction of Southern life in the throes of segregation, what it will mean for a young girl on her way to adulthood--and for the woman who means the world to her.

On a scorching day in August 1954, thirteen-year-old Jubie Watts leaves Charlotte, North Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation. Crammed into the Packard along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family's black maid, Mary Luther. For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there--cooking, cleaning, compensating for her father's rages and her mother's benign neglect, and loving Jubie unconditionally.

Bright and curious, Jubie takes note of the anti-integration signs they pass, and of the racial tension that builds as they journey further south. But she could never have predicted the shocking turn their trip will take. Now, in the wake of tragedy, Jubie must confront her parents' failings and limitations, decide where her own convictions lie, and make the tumultuous leap to independence.
Infused with the intensity of a changing time, here is a story of hope, heartbreak, and the love and courage that can transform us--from child to adult, from wounded to indomitable.

I could not put this book down. I LOVED it! If you liked "The Help" you'll love this book!

It's beautifully written and every character and every piece of dialogue draws you further into the past. The segregated south of the 1950's was a confusing time for young people who simply saw people for who they were, not for what colour their skin was. This story is beautifully told through the eyes of young teenage Jubie. Over the course of a summer her life changes in ways unimaginable. She goes from being a typical annoying sister to a mature young adult who see's the world through a new lens and the author allows her to grow in a realistic way that we can all relate to.

It took Anna Jean Mayhew 18 years to write this book and I can see why. It's a complicated story with many characters but she manages to create a picture in your mind of each one of them and their intertwined lives. You will be taken back in time and reminded of how you saw the world when you were young and start to question when it all changed, even if you didn't live through the turbulence of the 50's and 60's.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone however, be prepared.  There are parts that are heartbreaking.  You will cry.  But you will laugh out loud too.  It's the kind of book that makes you feel.  And I think those are the best books of all~

Have you read this book?  Can you imagine taking 18 years to create something and then unleashing it out into the world?  Share your thoughts below!  Don't forget, you can always find me, and other book reviews on Goodreads as Etcetorize.


PJ @ Planned in Pencil said...

I will definitely check this out. I loved The Help and would welcome more insight into that time. If we dont learn from our past arent we doomed to repeat it?

Little City Farm said...

Great review. I will definitely add this to my to-read list.


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