This is probably the novel people should teach instead of To Kill a Mockingbird. I think To Kill a Mockingbird is fine, but it’s not beloved for me. And I think this novel has a more meaningful and interesting take on the weirdness and outsiderness of race and childhood in the South than To Kill a Mockingbird.
This story takes place in the time leading up to a wedding. Frankie, a young white girl, and her companion and caretaker Berenice keeping each other company as the world around them deals with the plans for the wedding. As the time gets closer and the two, along with the neighbor boy John Henry, their respective roles in society become clearer and clearer. Berenice is disregarded, and Frankie will only become a figure for the family when it’s closer to her time to be married.
So in the meantime, Frankie decides she’s going to stir up as much excitement as she possibly can for herself by checking out bars, local hotels, hanging out with the Blacks folks around town, and even running away. We won’t talk about whether or not she ruins the wedding.
This book is touching, so well written, and funny.
Here’s what it reads like:
This is a farewell letter until I write your from a different place. I told you I was going to leave town because it is inevitable. I cannot stand this existance any longer because my life has become a burden. I am taking the pistol because who can tell when it might come in handy and I will send back the money to you at the very first opportunaty. Tell Berenice not to worry. The whole thing is a irony of fate and it is inevitable. Later I will write. Please Papa do not try to capture me.