Book Review: Flavors by Emily Sue Harvey
The summer of 1950 has arrived, and Sadie's parents are in need of a babysitter for her and younger brother Joe for the summer while they work. Sadie's parents work the second shift at a mill. Sadie and her brother are sent to stay for the summer at their paternal grandparents farm in South Carolina. On weekends their parents would visit the farm, often picking up the kids and taking them to the drive-in movie theater. They were a close family, laughter and affection was prominent. On the other hand Sadie's grandmother was a stern stoic no-nonsense person.
"She was not into sweet-talk. Her dialogue was as plain and unadorned as her battered washboard. Her vocabulary was the same, plain enough for a moron to understand. When she meant 'flighty,' she said 'flighty.' The upside was you never misunderstood her."
Sadie's father was the 5th of 12 children, grandma was having children while her children were having children. Sadie had an aunt only 1 year older. Aunt Nellie Jane did not have time to squander. Her duties were as full as any adult. Cooking and cleaning and laundry and caring for the farm animals took up most of her day. Although Sadie was given chores as well, she was not an expert as dear Nellie Jane. There were moments that the 2 girls were able to take a break from chores and just be the young adolescent girls they were. Sadie's teenage uncles were usually busy with their father working in the fields.
Flavors is a coming of age story nestled deep in southern wording and southern culture. The year being 1950, was before technology took away from a child's imagination and outside creativity and pleasures.
Sadie is a sensitive, articulate, observant, perceptive girl. Her observations are of her grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and their behavior and choices. She ponders them, and then makes decisions about her own life. The title flavors is alluded to often in the book----as she analyzes her surroundings and feelings and compares them to flavors.
This is a transparent and honest look at other humans. At what mistakes were made, and what can and should be the observer's response----an education in life. During this process of an education in life, a child grows-up.
Flavors is more than well-written, it is magical. Sadie's story swept me away and I was there, in the stifling humid heat, of 1950 South Carolina. When Sadie felt something, I could as well.
Emphatically, this is in my top 5 of BEST stories I've read. I loved it that much!
Thank you to Emily Sue Harvey and The Story Plant for my free review copy in exchange for an honest review!
Published by The Story Plant March 2011
Southern Story/Coming of Age/Inspirational
This book was written for adults but I feel appropriate for at least 13 and up.
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Other books written by this author:
Song of Renewal
Unto These Hills
Cocoon (available May 29)