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The Dry Grass of August

The Dry Grass of August [Kindle Edition]

Anna Jean Mayhew
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

In this beautifully written debut, Anna Jean Mayhew offers a riveting depiction of Southern life in the throes of segregation, what it will mean for a young girl on her way to adulthood--and for the woman who means the world to her. . .

On a scorching day in August 1954, thirteen-year-old Jubie Watts leaves Charlotte, North Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation. Crammed into the Packard along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family's black maid, Mary Luther. For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there--cooking, cleaning, compensating for her father's rages and her mother's benign neglect, and loving Jubie unconditionally.

Bright and curious, Jubie takes note of the anti-integration signs they pass, and of the racial tension that builds as they journey further south. But she could never have predicted the shocking turn their trip will take. Now, in the wake of tragedy, Jubie must confront her parents' failings and limitations, decide where her own convictions lie, and make the tumultuous leap to independence. . .

Infused with the intensity of a changing time, here is a story of hope, heartbreak, and the love and courage that can transform us--from child to adult, from wounded to indomitable.

"A beautiful book that fans of The Help will enjoy." --Karen White, New York Times bestselling author

"Mayhew keeps the story taut, thoughtful and complex, elevating it from the throng of coming-of-age books." --Publishers Weekly

"A must-read for fans of The Help." --Woman's World

"Written with unusual charm, wonderful dialogue, and a deeply felt sense of time and place, The Dry Grass of August is a book for adults and young people both--a beautifully written literary novel that is a real page-turner, I have to add. Fast, suspenseful, and meaningful. I read this book straight through." --Lee Smith, author of Last Girls and Fair and Tender Ladies

"Because the novel is totally true to Jubie's point of view, it generates gripping drama as we watch her reach beyond authority to question law and order." --Booklist

"A masterful work of blending time and place." --The Charlotte Observer

"A beautifully written and important novel. Set in the 1950s South, it deals with race relations in an original, powerful way. It's also a great story about complicated family relationships, told with humor, delicacy, and penetrating insight. I wish I had written this book." -- Angela Davis-Gardner, author of Butterfly's Child

"Anna Jean Mayhew has a true ear for Southern speech. . .The Dry Grass of August is a carefully researched, beautifully written, quietly told tale of love and despair and a look backward at the way it was back then in the South." --The Pilot (Southern Pines, North Carolina)

"Deeply felt, lasting relationships formed in the mid-20th century South between white families and the African-American women who took care of them. In The Dry Grass of August, Mayhew explores the love and conflicting loyalties in one such extended family, adult and child, black and white. She does so with honesty and sympathy, intimate knowledge and valuable perspective, as well as beautiful writing. This is an important story about the Southern experience and the women who helped to form the American generation now at the peak of its powers." --Peggy Payne, author of Sister India

"Once you've experienced The Dry Grass of August, you'll swiftly see that Anna Jean Mayhew's debut novel deserves all the early praise it's getting. . .the power, bravery and beauty of Mayhew's narrative is beyond contestation and well-deserving of a wide readership." --BookPage

"An extraordinary, absorbing novel." --Historical Novel Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 30 Sep 2011
This book reminded me of the The Help by Kathryn Stockett, the backdrop is similar but its a much sadder tale. Sad but not depressing, it leaves the reader with a great feeling of hope for the future. I finished it a few days ago and I am still thinking about Juby & Mary, their friendship, their compassion and their ability like dislikeable people and live in intolerable situations with great dignity. Judy, the daughter of an alcoholic, violent father & and indifferent mother. And Mary the families black maid. It is set in the segregated South of the 1950's. Mayhew manages to say allot with few words, I particularly liked the way the last sentence of every chapter was subtle but loaded. This book took 18 years from conception to completion, lets hope we don't have to wait that long for Mayhew's next book. Wonderful writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This a gripping tale, masterfully told, about Juby, a 13-year-old white girl from North Carolina who comes to grips with the cruel realities of segregation in 1954 and with her parents' disintegrating marriage. I liked the characters, especially Juby and the family's black housekeeper, Mary, and also Taylor and Mama; the sense of place & period (and this will be instructive for those, such as myself, who never experienced daily life under segregation); and the deft way (in the first part of the book) the author moves back and forth from the present (the beach trip) to the recent past (at home) to flesh out the story. And the writing is excellent throughout. I never felt any word was wasted. If I have any complaint, it might be that certain dramatic events at the end of the book came as a surprise and didn't have the emotional impact the author must have intended. But this is me reacting, one reader amongst many. The rest of the book -- the first two-thirds -- was thrilling. I look forward to Mayhew's next!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. 6 July 2013
By adfan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This has been my favourite book this year. I read it in two days. I felt I was actually on the journey with them. A very sad story, that had me in tears at one point. If you like Southern stories, don't miss this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! 23 Mar 2014
By lindsey
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great book! The characters were drawn sympathetically and I cared about what happened to most of them. It was not mawkish and difficult issues were not avoided. I think this would appeal to those who appreciate skilful writing, especially those who have an interest in the issues raised.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Paints a wonderful picture with words 6 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a great read and it was interesting that it was told from a younger girl's perspective as she had a nieve insight at times. I was hard to read in some parts and the overt racism of the time in some small minded people was greatly captured but what was captured even better was the standard acceptance of minorities position in society and how through the loving eyes of a child you could see a more hopefully future.
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