Apr 6, 2012
Author: Lynne Bryant
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade; Original edition (April 3, 2012)
Lynne's first book, Catfish Alley was fantastic. I loved it and have been patiently waiting for her next novel.
Catfish Alley told a story of the racial strife and hostility that occurred in the Deep South during the present time, with flashbacks to the 20s and 30s.
This book continues that storytelling fashion, with the main story set in the present day while flashbacking back to three past time periods to show how they affected Avery's time and life.
Avery left home 10 years ago and fled to Colorado after her black boyfriend was hospitalized from a bad beating. She wasn't allowed to see him by his family and so he didn't find out she was pregnant until after she moved away to Colorado. She left in a rush after her mother felt it best to do away with the mixed race mess she was sure to have.
Avery has never been home since. She has a beautiful daughter named Celi who hasn't had to deal with the racial issues of the South in Colorado and that's how Avery plans to continue on.
Avery's mother has never reconciled the fact that Avery has a child with black blood in her and is horrified that people in town might find out.
The giant elephant in the rooms comes roaring out when Avery decides to come back home for her brother's wedding, bringing Celi with her. You see, Celi has Sickle Cell Anemia.. which you can only get when both parent carry the trait. Sickle Cell Anemia is only carried in people with a certain DNA.. DNA only blacks have. So the elephant in the room is where did Avery - with her ever so proper mother who refuses to let blacks and whites associate together anywhere near her - end up with the DNA that allowed her daughter to inherit this disease?
Avery is torn between hiding her daughter's illness so that her mother won't have to discover the fact that she's perhaps "tainted", or letting the world know and seeing where the chips fall.
I will say, as a Southern girl raised in the DEEP South, there were so many instances in this book that I could "recognize", I spent a good amount of time cringing while reading.
A good story without the perfect storybook ending - which made it even better.