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and life along the winding road

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

John Riley's Daughter by Kezi Matthews

In my search for books set in each of the 50 U.S. States, I came across John Riley's Daughter (Set in South Carolina). It was Kezi Matthews' debut YA novel and a short read at just over 120 pages. Nevertheless, Ms. Matthews packs a lot in those pages. Memphis, is very young when her father drops her off at her maternal grandmother's house and conflict with her aunt ensues. Despite her lack of parental guidance, and the obvious disdain of her grandmother, Memphis finds friends and overcomes a great deal of hurt caused from her mother's death and her father's abandonment. When mentally handicapped Aunt Clover disappears it causes thirteen year old Memphis to question herself as to whether it was their argument that caused her Aunt to leave.
This is one of my favorite books this year, Kezi Matthews harnesses the turmoil within the family and gives the reader a glimpse into life in South Carolina in the 1970s.

Apparently, any book set in the south mentions Kudzu and although I have heard about the invasive plant, I didn't realize it was planted deliberately as a government plan to curb the Dust Bowl/soil erosion problem.

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