On the Backlist: The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew

I’m going through and trying to add reviews for the books I read a couple of years ago (the ones I can remember, at least), and I am SHOCKED to discover I haven’t reviewed The Dry Grass of August yet. I loved this book so much that I can’t simply post a review and then have it sit quietly back in the annals of the blog. I want you guys to know about this book, if you don’t already.

If I haven’t already said it: I LOVE debut novels. I think there’s something about an author’s first public shout-out to the world that is just so electric and amazing. The Dry Grass of August is absolutely no exception. It’s a rich, atmospheric, sometimes hand-wringing tale of a girl on the cusp of adolescence and the black maid who is, for all intents and purposes, her mother. It takes place in the deep south in 1954, and I’m sure you can grasp the implications. This book is powerful and memorable, and the writing is fantastic. It’s just a touch slow to begin, and it is a thoughtful sort of novel–more emotion and psychology than actionactionaction. I enjoy that, though, and I really appreciated it.

4 stars, and clean enough that it’d be great to share with YA or middle grade audiences. There are some upsetting scenes re: the racial climate. IMO, it’d be a fabulous book club pick.

on-the-backlist

4 Stars

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