Sunday, January 29, 2023

#Sexy #Nerd #Review...The Dry Grass of August...#Southern #Racism #Amreading #BookNerds #Bookworms

In this beautifully written debut, Anna Jean Mayhew offers a riveting depiction of Southern life in the throes of segregation and 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, wounded to indomitable.

The Sexy nerd's Review. . .
Within the last few years, I’ve been struggling with reading books—something I thought would never happen to an avid reader. It was getting to the point I was thinking something was wrong with me because books and my life go hand in hand. After speaking with other avid readers, I learned some of them had been experiencing the same thing. I wrote a blog post about our conversations (written from my point of view/[read for yourself] ➡ New Year! New You! New Reads?) to keep them anonymous, but I realized after having spoken with them, it wasn’t just me. I have been struggling to find real substance in the books I had been selecting. And as a result, I began hating to read. It seemed like every book I started, I struggled to finish and when I did, I just felt like I was wasting all my time on nothing. Why am I sharing this with you? Well…simply because you may be feeling this way too, but I’m happy to say, this book I’m about to tell you about has changed the game for me.

I love a good southern-themed story and 13-year old Jubie narrates such a story that will most likely live with me for the rest of my life. Jubie comes from middle-class white America where the neighborhoods are picket fences and manicured lawns. Black men and women were employed by families like Jubie’s to work as maids and yard men. The year was 1954 and segregation was all too familiar and ever present and Jubie was curious about life and especially their black maid, Mary.

Mary had been working with Jubie’s family for quite some time and they were preparing to take a southern road trip to Florida. Knowing how dangerous the south could be for Mary, Paula, Jubie’s mother, needed Mary’s help and was willing to take the risk of driving with her. Of course, Mary had to sit in the back just in case they got stopped. As they traveled, it was clear that they were going to have problems with Mary sleeping in motels of which she often had to sleep out back and use the outhouses versus the bathrooms. Jubie wanted the world to love Mary just as she had. What struck Jubie as interesting was the fact that Mary wasn’t ignorant and used proper grammar and was smart—something some whites referred to as her being ‘uppity.’ Mary wasn’t permitted to show her intelligence, except around her employers and their children. And even at those times, Jubie’s father didn’t like Mary making him look bad.

On their way, Paula stopped to visit with her brother. Everyone was out enjoying the beach and having a good time, but Mary wasn’t permitted to go to the beach. There were certain times of the day when she was permitted to be seen, and if she was noticed, she quickly had to mind her manners and promptly get back in place. Once the family left Paula’s brother’s home, is when things took an ugly turn. As they drove, they had a car accident and that, readers, is where our story exits stage left.

Wow!!!! I loved this story so much! I could feel what each character was feeling. Mayhew put the reader front and center. I haven’t felt this alive with reading a good book in so long, I almost forgot what that feeling was like. I wish I had saved this story to read for Black History Month, but as good as this story was, it doesn’t matter when you read it. What an incredible story told so eloquently by 13-year-old, Jubie. There were so many times I wanted to reach in my Kindle and give her a hug. She felt so real to me and her feelings were heart wrenching.

The Sexy Nerd gives The Dry Grass of August five extra hot days. This book was so good, it’s going on my all-time favs. list. I absolutely loved the realness and essence of each of the characters and the storyline. I see why this novel won so many awards. It deserved every one of them. I most definitely recommend if you're looking for a great southern-themed story or African-American-themed story, you've got to read this book!  You can find it free on Amazon under Kindle Unlimited, if you're a member.  If not, this would be a great time to join and subscribe.  I can’t believe this book came out in 2011. And my biggest takeaway is the more that things change, the more they stay the same. There are some things in the story that resonate today and it’s 2023. Hard to believe. Mayhew restored my faith in reading. I owe her a big “thank you!” Until next time, Nerds, you know what to do.

Open a Book and Get Mind Blown!

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