Ramona lives in Eulogy, Mississippi with her dad and her pregnant sister in a trailer. The trailer was supposed to be a place for them to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Katrina. However, lives don’t just miraculously piece themselves back together and money doesn’t grow on trees and sometimes, moms can’t handle reality and leave. So now 12 years later, Ramona works hard to keep her family afloat. Fiercely protective of them and constantly worried about their future, she seems to think of her own as a footnote, an afterthought, or even less exciting, already written. But when her childhood friend Freddie moves permanently back to Eulogy to finish his senior year with her, their friendship and love has her questioning things that she felt completely certain about.
There are things that I loved about this book such as the way Julie Murphy writes. It’s so believable, the struggle of not knowing our place in the world (as teenagers/adults?) and trying to make what seem impossibly big decisions about the future when the future is almost an abstract a term and too looming to focus on. There are things that I didn’t love; I feel like if I superimposed the plot of Dumplin’ and took out the weight/boy issue and substituted sexuality/future it feels very similar. Now here’s the thing, I loved Dumplin’ and I really enjoyed Ramona Blue, but I’m not gonna lie…they’re similar in their struggles (just different struggles of acceptance). I pointed it out but, I can turn a complete blind eye to this because I was happy to see representation of all kinds in this novel and I was thinking about if my daughter read it some day and if allowed her to see a life that could be different than her own, or could possibly be addressing the questions she has about her own sexuality and where she falls on the grand spectrum of things then the book is ultimately a winner. I highly recommend Ramona Blue. Ramona may annoy you a bit as a character, but she feels real–and real people sometimes annoy the hell out of you while making you smile.