Top positive review
Gone crazy for these sisters
Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2015
"Gone Crazy in Alabama" is the third book in the series that follows sisters Delphine, Vonetta and Fern. In the first book, "One Crazy Summer," the girls travel to Oakland in the late 1960s to visit the mother who abandoned them when they were little. "P.S. Be Eleven" finds the girls back in Brooklyn adjusting to their father's new wife and their uncle's return from Vietnam. "Gone Crazy in Alabama" has the girls visiting their grandmother and great-grandmother in Alabama.
All three books weave historical moments throughout the plot, but the plot is not dependent on any one event like another one of my favorite books, "The Watsons go to Birmingham: 1963." The girls interact with the Black Panthers in Oakland, fall in love with the Jackson 5 in Brooklyn, and watch the Apollo 11 moon launch on their grandmother's TV. The historical elements provide flavor and context and add a richness to the story that is very endearing.
Delphine, the oldest sister, is the primary protagonist. While the books don't necessarily have to be read in order, it helps, if for no other reason than to see how Delphine has grown, how she treats her sisters and how her complicated relationship with her mother progresses.
Delphine's mother, Cecile, in this, the third book, continues to be one of the most interesting characters I have found in a middle grade novel. Both passionate and aloof, sane and insane, her relationship with her daughters is fascinatingly complex.
"Gone Crazy in Alabama" is probably my least favorite of the series, though it is saved in part by the final third of the book which involves a crisis that, unlike a 30 minute sitcom, is not solved immediately.
I can only hope that Rita Williams-Garcia has more stories for us with Delphine, Vonetta and Fern.