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Whistling Past the Graveyard

Whistling Past the Graveyard - Susan Crandall MY THOUGHTSABSOLUTELY LOVED ITStarla is almost 10 years old when she is put on restriction AGAIN by her grandmother, where she lives in a small town in Mississippi while her father works on an oil rig. The disappointment grows when Starla realizes that she will miss the Fourth of July parade and fireworks. Told to stay home, she sneaks off to watch them anyway. Caught by a neighbor, she is put on even more restriction and when she overhears her grandmother say she will be sent to reform school, she decides to be proactive and run away before that can happen. Starla decides that her mother who is living in Nashville and is a "famous singer" is her destination. As she is walking down the road, dying of thirst, a woman with a baby picks her up.The woman, Eula, offers a ride in her broken down truck and Starla accepts rather than go to some horrible place her grandmother might send her. The story covers their trip to Nashville and all that they encounter. I am just going to get this out of my system now: The Secret Life of Bees, The Help, Huckleberry Finn were what came to mind while reading this one. The pair bring to light to horrible racism that still exists in the South today but was even worse in the early Sixties. As Starla witnesses the injustice that Eula faces on a daily basis, you can see the wheels turning in this bright child's mind and how she is trying to understand why things are so unfair. The fighting spirit is also strong in her as she tries to make everything right for those she cares about.Her grandmother is not quite evil, but you can tell that her feelings about Starla's mother transfer over to how she feels about her granddaughter. I don't want to give anything away but it does have a happy ending for all involved. There are themes of child abuse, domestic violence, social mores that make no sense including how unwed mothers were treated and the fact that Starla barely escaped being known as a bastard. This would make an excellent book for a club since there is so much to discuss. This has to be one of my favorite books that I have read this year.

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