Saturday, February 23, 2013

Whistling Past the Graveyard

Stars: 3.5

Here is my Saturday evening book review! I announce this like I write a book review every Saturday when, let's be honest, some weeks I barely have enough time to read the stop sign at the end of my street. But, tonight I have a book to share with you.

Whistling Past the Graveyard, by Susan Crandall is the perfect mid-summer read for the beach or poolside reader wanting to escape back to Mississippi,1963. Crandall presents Starla, a fiery, red-headed 9 year old who doesn't like being told what to do or who to love. After a Fourth of July incident has her fearing reform school, Starla runs away to Nashville in search of the mother who abandoned her. Along the way Starla meets Eula who has her own set of troubles that soon include Starla.

I hate spoilers, so I won't be giving away any plot lines here. What I will share with you is that this a good coming-of-age novel that could have been a great opportunity to shed light on the racial tension during the 1960's. Unfortunately, it fell quite a bit short for me. The story moved along swiftly and the characters were believable, but at times when Crandall could have gone very deep, she only skirted the surface. In this way, the book was disappointing.

However, I enjoyed the characters Crandall created, especially Starla. Even though the book did not explore the core themes as much as I would have preferred, it is a touching, heart-breaking, at times hilarious  account of a young girl learning life's lessons of love and loss a little too soon. Put this on your summer reading list.

Whistling Past the Graveyard, by Susan Crandall is set to be available for public availability on July 2, 2013. Thank you, NetGalley for allowing me the pleasure of reading an advanced copy.