Top positive review
One of My Best Reads this Year and I'm Fussy
Reviewed in the United States on May 2, 2017
Lily Owens has spent fourteen years blaming herself for her mother's death. She's had to tolerate a cruel, abusive father and been raised by tobacco-spitting Rosaleen, her nearest hope to mother-love. It is 1964. The Civil Rights Act has just been signed and Rosaleen walks into small-town Sylva, Southern Carolina to register as a first-time voter.
On the way she argues with the town's worst racist, spits on his boot and is jailed. Lily Owens decides this is the moment to jail-bust Rosaleen and run away from home. They land up as fugitives in Tumaron with three sisters who have a connection with Lily's mother. Lily starts her journey towards forgiving herself, her mother and experiencing growing up in a loving household.
This book is memorable in several ways: Sue Monk Kidd's original, quirky, highly perceptive portrayal of life in the deep south; the serious issues of racism and religion are shown - not in the usual hackneyed way, but with an irreverence and humour that made me smile time and again. Picture a colourful group of eccentric sisters with a love for life, wearing flamboyant hats, gospel singing and dancing in a canga line; the story is poignant and the characters become complex, strong and wise. I enjoyed reading this story and once started had to see where it would lead.