Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall captures perfectly the voice of a 9 year old as a narrator. Starla Claudelle runs away from her home at her grandmother's house in the summer of 1963 Mississippi. Mamie has been mean to her just one too many times. Grounding her from the Fourth of July festivities is just almost too much for Starla to bear. Being caught breaking the grounding and threatened with reform school is.

On the spur of the moment, Starla decides to run away to Nashville to be with her Mama who left her and her Daddy to become a famous singer when she was just 3 years old. She starts walking the road and meets up with Eula, a black woman, driving with James, a white baby in the car. Adventure follows.

Not all of it is what you would want for a 9 year old, but it is authentic for the time and place. Sometimes it is heartbreaking. Other times it makes for a warm, loving scene. Some of it is educational for Starla. She grows in ways she never could have anticipated.

It is a pageturner. The momentum is pretty high from the time Starla hits the road. Even before that, you grow to love her and wish some happiness into her life.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. It's not something I would normally pick up to read, but I'm glad I did. I loved Starla and Eula and some of the other characters. I loved the pacing and the use of the narrator too.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.