This is a companion novel to *Bud, not Buddy*, the Newbery Award-winning children’s novel about an African-American boy in the Great Depression, who runs away from a neglectful foster home in order to search for the man he thinks might be his father. At one point Bud lands in a squatter’s camp near Flint, Michigan and meets a strong-willed young girl who treats him kindly and helps him along his way. In this novel, Curtis takes up the story of that girl, 12-year-old Deza Malone.
Deza and her mother, along with her older brother Jimmie, who “sings like an angel,” live with her father in Gary, Indiana. When her father is injured on a fishing trip, he loses his job at the steel mill and goes off to Michigan to look for work. When he doesn’t come back or write, Deza’s family is kicked out of their rented home, and they have to learn how to ride the rails to go to Michigan to find him. Curtis shows the difficulties of poor African-American families in those times, with rampant racism making jobs and survival even harder to come by. But Deza has her family and her own intelligence and intense desire to succeed to give her an edge. It’s another fine piece of characterization and storytelling by one of our better writers.
I was driving to and from Phoenix by myself for the #RnRArizona Half Marathon and thought it'd be the perfect time for an audio book or two. When I was looking I saw this one was available, the story was centered around a family who lived in Gary, Indiana and Flint, MI, and it wasn't too long - so sign me up. I'll be honest, it's for younger readers (I think like 4-7 grade level), but hey, I love me some Young Adult books so I figured I'd give it a try. Even still, I really enjoyed it. It touched on prejudice, history, family dynamics, etc. I also appreciated that this was a book focusing on an African American family because I know how impactful it can be for kids to have books they see themselves in (and although this is set in the Great Depression timeframe there are still plenty of relevant topics). This may not be my normal read, but it kept me engaged and inspired on my drive to Arizona. I would give it an 8 out of 10.
It is said that if we don't learn from history, we're bound to repeat it. There are events that take place ithis book that feel like they could have been written about current events.
There are "tent cities" being erected formally and informally. There are people who are treated as if being poor or being black are crimes.
But I'm making it sound like the book is depressing and it is far from it! This is a story of hope, of family, and of love.
I highly recommend everyone reading or listening to this wonderful book.
The Mighty Miss Malone is an inspiring story told from a vivacious and confident young voice. Recommended for kids and adults alike.
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