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Dry Grass of August, The by Anna Jean Mayhew
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Dry Grass of August, The (edition 2011)

by Anna Jean Mayhew

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4803921,469 (3.76)22
Member:Gilmore53
Title:Dry Grass of August, The
Authors:Anna Jean Mayhew
Info:Kensington Publishing (2011), Upplaga: 1, Paperback, 352 sidor
Collections:Wishlist
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The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew

Recently added bylovelypenny, ccindyy, private library, Gingermama, agille37, joblank, John_Warner, CarmenMilligan
  1. 30
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett (clowndust, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The Help is a moving novel about a young white woman who discovers the effects of racism on black women and their families in mid-1960s Mississippi; The Dry Grass of August portrays similar discoveries for a white teenage girl in the mid-1950s.… (more)
  2. 10
    Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
There was nothing wrong with this book per se, I guess I'm just tired of every Southern book I read being super depressing and full of terrible people. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
Thirteen year old Jubie Watts grew up fast in the summer of 1954. She and her three siblings, Mother and her family black maid, Mary, leave their home in Charlotte, N.C., crammed in the Packard for a vacation which takes them on a route from the Florida panhandle to Pawley's Island, S.C. Along the route, they encounter Jim Crow laws and the violence and bigotry which accompanied these laws. Growing up shortly in a similar time in Northern Louisiana it was good to read this book and sadly remember the prejudice of these times. I would highly recommend this book for older high school students and older readers. ( )
  John_Warner | Jan 19, 2016 |
In August of 1954 the Watts family, minus dad Bill, travel to Florida from Charlotte, N.C., in the family Packard for a vacation with mom Paula's brother. The 4 children are crowded into the car along with the family maid, Mary Luther. Mary has been with the Watts family for as long as "Jubie", the 13-year old narrator of the story, can remember. Although Mary is treated as nothing more than hired help by Mr. and Mrs. Watts the children dearly love her and turn to her when they are in need of a loving hug or a sympathetic ear. As the vacationers travel deeper into the American South there are more and more signs that blacks are not welcome in many towns. Curfews, white-only motels and restaurants, and ugly remarks follow in Mary's wake. Mary takes it all in with quiet dignity but a violent incident will shatter the lives that Mary and the Watts family, especially Jubie, have lived until then.

This is an interesting look at life in the south during the racially charged 1950s. I grew up in the north during the same era and I don't remember these same problems in our vicinity so it can be hard to relate to the hatred and violence that this book adresses. Mary is a wonderful character as is Jubie but I did not like either of the Watts parents at all. It seems so bizarre to me that the white people could be so dismissive of the black people's lives and yet the black people were instantly welcoming to Jubie. I also have a hard time with the fact that Jubie, all of 13-years-old, is able to drive the family car all by herself for several hundred miles. I wouldn't have had a clue how to do that! This was a so-so book for me.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Mayhew’s debut novel is a story of racism in the 1950’s South, a coming-of-age novel, and a look at a family falling apart.

Jubie (June Bentley Watts) is our 13-year-old narrator, growing up in an upper-middle-class family in Charlotte NC with her three siblings. Her life, to this point, is centered on family and school; she is aware of change in the world, yet still somewhat sheltered by her age and the adults around her. But a family vacation to visit her Uncle Taylor in Pensacola will open her eyes to tensions within her family and throughout the Southern United States.

There are some emotionally gut-wrenching scenes in the book, and Mayhew tries to explore how these events shape Jubie and her family. But she doesn’t succeed. I think Mayhew was trying to include too much and the plot got away from her. The family drama would have been plenty to handle in a novel. The racial tensions of a country facing major change just after Brown v Board of Education would also have fueled a full novel. In trying to incorporate both these significant plots, Mayhew failed to do justice to either one.

There are moments of very good writing and I was interested and engaged in the novel, but felt as if I’d missed something by the time I got to the end. It’s a good first effort, but I don’t think it will pass the test of time.

Karen White does a very good job on the audio book.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew is set in the summer of 1954 and thirteen year old June “Jubie” Watts is leaving Charlotte, North Caroline on a road trip with her mother, her two sisters, her baby brother and the colored maid, Mary. They are journeying south through the land of Jim Crow to Pensacola, Florida to visit her uncle. As they drive along, Jubie fills us in on her life and family and we learn of a father that drinks a little too much, has a wandering eye and is a little too quick to apply severe corporeal punishment. At first her mother appears to be distant and uninterested in her children, but as we learn of her problems and see the improvements over the course of the book, it is easier to understand her. The children, particularly Jubie, turn to Mary with most of their concerns.

Jubie is a thoughtful and observant narrator and does take note of the strong pro-segregation signs posted along the highway, and records the treatment of Mary who has to eat separately and often has to be found separate accommodations from the white family. When a horrific tragedy strikes the whole family is upset and frightened but Jubie is devastated. Yet it is her strength and integrity that shines from the pages as she seeks resolution and finds a measure of peace.

I found The Dry Grass of August to be a beautifully written and moving coming of age story. I seem to have a fondness for southern style literature and this book did remind me somewhat of both The Help and The Secret Life of Bees. This is a first novel, published after the author turned 70 yet it is the way the author brought the thirteen year old main character to life that elevates this book and keeps the reader engaged. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 5, 2015 |
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Epigraph
In the midnight hour
When you need some power
When your heart is heavy
Steal away, steal away home
I ain't got long to stay here.

-African-American spiritual
Dedication
for Jean-Michel and for Laurel
First words
In August of 1954, we took our first trip without Daddy, and Stell got use to the driver's license she'd had such a fit about.
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In 1954, thirteen-year-old Jubie Watts' eyes are opened to the harsh realities of racism when tragedy strikes her family while on vacation in Florida.
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In 1954, 13-year-old Jubie, traveling with her family and her family's black maid Mary Luther--who has always been there for her, making up for her father's rages and her mother's neglect--encounters racial tension and tragedy.

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