Sunday, May 20, 2012

crazy days

One Crazy Summer, Rita Williams-Garcia, follows sisters: Delphine, Vonetta and Fern as they travel from Brooklyn to Oakland, CA in 1968. Abandoned by their mother years before, their father (against their grandmother's wishes) thinks it's high time his girls spend some time with Cecile, the woman who ran out on their family. All I kept thinking was, "What the hell are you thinking, sending 3 girls under the age of 12 to Oakland in 1968!!!?"

Leaving all that they know in a world of Big Ma's manners and rules, the three sisters enter into a world of afros, hippies, and a summer camp program run by the Black Panther Party (When I was reading anything to do with the Black Panther Party I kept hearing Forrest Gump's voice in my head, "Sorry I ruined your Black Panther party" and couldn't help but smile) that their wanting-nothing-to-do-with-them-mother seems to have some dealings. While I was impressed with how Williams-Garcia was able to portray some of the confusion and scariness of that time period and that place, and appreciated how she was discussed the idea of black identity both through the girls and what Black Panther members/summer camp staff said; I felt that the novel could have had more character development from Delphine (the narrator and oldest sister) who seems to have lost some of her childhood in helping raise her younger sisters, sans momma; Cecile (the mom) also could have been developed more fully. All in all it was an interesting read.

Would I recommend it?:Yes, and if my word's not good enough, check out all these awards One Crazy Summer has garnered:
2011 Coretta Scott King Award Winner
2011 Newbery Honor Book
2011 Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction
2010 National Book Award Finalist
Junior Library Guild Selection
Texas Library Association Best Book for 2010
New York Times Editor’s Choice

Ages: 9+

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