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Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan…
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Whistling Past the Graveyard (edition 2013)

by Susan Crandall (Author)

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7526823,252 (4.08)26
Determined to get to Nashville to find her mother in 1963, nine-year-old spitfire Starla Claudelle runs away from her strict grandmother's Mississippi home, eventually accepting a ride from a Eula, a black woman traveling alone with a white baby.
Member:KathyPedigo
Title:Whistling Past the Graveyard
Authors:Susan Crandall (Author)
Info:Gallery Books (2013), Edition: 1st Printing, 320 pages
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Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

  1. 30
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Iudita, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Set in the American South during the 1960s, these moving coming-of-age stories star motherless white girls whose strong bonds with older African-American women result in dangerous yet eye-opening journeys that unfold against the backdrop of the burgeoning civil rights movement.… (more)
  2. 20
    Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (Iudita)
  3. 10
    How High the Moon: A Novel by Sandra Kring (BookSpot)
    BookSpot: The sassy, precocious narrators of very similar ages (10 in HHtM and nine in WPtG) in these historical pieces (1955 for HHtM and 1963 for WPtG) reminded me a good bit of each other.
  4. 00
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (JGoto)
    JGoto: Wonderful classic with spunky child's point of view, racist setting
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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD by Susan Crandall
I was a white, Northern, college girl who had always attended integrated schools in 1963when this book takes place. I was shocked at the historically correct, blatant, racism portrayed in this book of southern Mississippi. If you are offended or triggered by historically correct terms, don’t read this book.
That said, I loved this book. I loved Starla, the 10-year-old runaway: Eula, the young “colored” woman who befriends Starla; and Starla’s father. The characters are wonderful, clearly drawn and “real.” The time period and locale (1963 Mississippi) are shown with all the warts in place. The story is part coming of age, part social history and part murder mystery. The parts work together in a seamless tale that enthralls from the first page to the last.
If Crandall’s other books are as good as this one, I have reading material for a month or two (I’m a fast reader). Book groups will have a wealth of discussion material with Starla and Eula. The book would lead to a great parent/child discussion.
5 of 5 stars ( )
  beckyhaase | Mar 26, 2021 |
Perhaps a little white-savior-ish but maybe it seems that way because it takes place in the 60's deep south. I enjoyed the story overall though.

2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge - A book that passes the Bechdel test ( )
  NCDonnas | Jan 2, 2021 |
Perhaps a little white-savior-ish but maybe it seems that way because it takes place in the 60's deep south. I enjoyed the story overall though.

2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge - A book that passes the Bechdel test ( )
  NCDonnas | Jan 2, 2021 |
The book started out a little slow but then it picked up and I couldn't put it down. I read the last 200 pages in a day. ( )
  LoriFox | Oct 24, 2020 |
Maybe 4.5 as some of this felt like a stretch. However, as an audio book, it completely immersed me in the story and the different dialects rang true and added to the authenticity of the tale. Starla Claudell is 9 years old in 1963 and has difficulties of her own growing up in Cayuga Springs, MS -- she lives with her Mamie who is strict, unkind and judgmental, while her Daddy works offshore on an oil rig and her Mama tries to make a name for herself as a singing star in Nashville. Starla has bright red hair and the temper and impulsiveness to (stereotypically) go with it, though most of her outrage is directed at injustice. After she and Mamie have yet another run-in and punishment on the 4th of July, Starla takes advantage of the town being busy with the parade and fair to run away toward Nashville to find her Mama. Lulu has kept in touch with Starla on her birthdays and fills her head with tales of stardom and being reunited as a happy family. While leaving town on a back road, Starla is offered a ride by a colored (book's terminology) woman, Eula. She accepts and her odyssey begins. Also in the beater truck is a newborn baby -- who is white. Eula found him on church steps and took him to fill a void in her own life. When they arrive at Eula's tiny home, her husband Wallace hits the roof, realizing the repercussions of picking up two white children. He is not a nice man, to put it mildly, and now all three are in danger. After a domestic blow-out and tragedy, Eula, Starla and baby James take to the road to try to get to Nashville and Starla's mother, who she believes will make everything all right. The relationship that develops between Starla and Eula is beautiful and sweet and Starla quickly learns that her own problems were tiny compared to the difficulties of being black in the South in the midst of the Civil Rights movement. To see her learn and reason things out and become aware of and angry at the injustices around her is touching. Her enlightenment comes with a price -- her own innocence. After a very challenging journey with kindness and cruelty alike, the trio arrives in Nashville, finds Lulu and faces further disillusionment. Meanwhile, Starla's Daddy and even Mamie are beside themselves with worry and the journey would've been in vain if not for all the growth it promotes. Everyone (except Lulu) ends up back in Cayuga Springs to face what they ran from and try to hang on to what they've become. It is a satisfactory ending, if a bit too "neat". But this book really resonated -- it could be the To Kill a Mockingbird for this next century. Echos of The Help here too. Some pretty mature material, but ok for 12 and up. Starla inadvertently sums up the story when she repeats what her Daddy taught her: "Being brave wasn't not being scared. Being brave was keeping going when you were." ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Crandallprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rubinate, AmyNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my family, Bill, Reid, Melissa, Allison, Mark and my mother Margie.  This book was so special to me that I couldn't choose just one of you.
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My grandmother said she prays for me every day.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Determined to get to Nashville to find her mother in 1963, nine-year-old spitfire Starla Claudelle runs away from her strict grandmother's Mississippi home, eventually accepting a ride from a Eula, a black woman traveling alone with a white baby.

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In the summer of 1963, nine-year-old Starla Claudell runs away from her grandmother's Mississippi home.  Starla's destination is Nashville, where her mother went to become a famous singer, abandoning Starla when she was three.  Walking a lonely country road, Starla accepts a ride from Eula, a black woman traveling alone with a white baby  Now, on the road trip that will change her life forever, Starla sees for the first tie life as it really is0as she reaches for a dream of how it could one day be. (ARC)
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