Posted by: Karen | January 11, 2012

THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST by Anna Jean Mayhew

Available now from Blackstone Audio.

From the Publisher:

“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.”

From the review at Literaryhoarders.wordpress.com:

So..if you do get the chance to read this wonderful story, I really encourage you to listen to it. Mayhew’s brilliant and sharp writing coupled with White’s narration is a marvelouos listening opportunity that I wouldn’t want you to miss out on hearing! White superbly brings to life the voices of each of the characters involved in this story. They become so vivid, their voices will leave you breathless and physically moved, sickened, saddened, etc.

Listen to a sample here:

From print reviews:

“Mayhew gives readers a compelling and insightful protagonist…Mayhew keeps the story taut, thoughtful, and complex, elevating it from the throng of coming-of-age books.”—Publishers Weekly

“Because the novel is totally true to Jubie’s point of view, it generates gripping drama as we watch her reach beyond authority to question law and order.”—Booklist

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