Gone Crazy in Alabama
Rita Williams-Garcia takes Delphine, Vonetta and Fern--the three sisters from her Newbery Honor book, One Crazy Summer, and P.S. Be Eleven--to their paternal grandmother's home in Alabama. Along the way, she digs deeply into the complexities of race and societal hierarchy during the summer of 1969.
Delphine knows their Brooklyn ways are not so easily tolerated in the Deep South, where Big Ma and her mother, Ma Charles, live. Still, it upsets her when her beloved cousin hangs his head and says "yes sir" to Sheriff Charles. The plot thickens when she finds out Sheriff Charles runs with the Klan--and that he's kin to Ma Charles. Ma Charles and her half-sister, Miss Trotter, aren't speaking, but they aren't so different, really. Delphine discovers, at the root of the pair's rivalry, a need to know that each was loved by the father they shared. When a tornado strikes and Vonetta goes missing, the family comes together--every branch of it. With humor and wisdom, Williams-Garcia layers in the themes of all three books the way the sisters "[lay] their voices down," and the effect is spellbinding. Themes of self-realization, reconciliation and accepting a painful past all culminate in this grand finale. --Jennifer M. Brown