Saturday, April 28, 2012

Book Review: The Dry Grass of August

This debut novel by 71-year-old Anna Jean Mayhew is being compared to The Help, and it deserves the comparison. This was a wonderful book. I would read another by this author and hopefully she will continue writing.

Jubie Watts is a young teen from Charlotte, North Carolina, leaving for a family vacation in Florida with her family and their hired maid, Mary Luther. With a tumultuous family life, Jubie must find her way amid an abusive, philandering father, a weak mother, a doted-on older sister, a disappearing younger sister and a toddling brother. Heading deeper into the South, she notices the climate of racial unrest, but could never anticipate the dreadful turn of events when the family car crashes in a small town in Georgia.

Although this book was sad, it ended with a feeling of hope. Mayhew creates a solid main character and maintains a clear voice throughout. She certainly nailed both the coming-of age tensions and the racial-relations tensions of a time in American history (the 1950's). Thankfully, the story remained front and center and carried the book.

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