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The Dry Grass of August

The Dry Grass of August - Anna Jean Mayhew

The dry grass of August in a really interesting and engaging novel and while a lot of people seem to be comparing it in one way or another to The Help, I am not going to do this as I feel this book needs to be read and enjoyed in its own right. I bought the paperback edition and I love the cover and the quality of this publication and this is is the reason I still love my physical books!

The Dry Grass of August takes place in 1954 in Charlotte, North Carolina and tells the story of 13 year old Jubie Watts and the relationship she has with her black maid Mary, and the blatant racism and prejudices that surround her. This is not just a story about race relations in the south but a warm and engaging story about a 13 year old girl’s relationship with her middle class southern family and her love for Mary her second mother the lady who cooked and cleaned and cared for her 3 siblings.

I loved the characters in the Dry Grass of August and felt they became so real as the story unfolds. I especially liked the character of Mary and loved her quiet kind but yet strong nature throughout the story. I also loved the complex characters of the jubie’s mother and father and think these characters would make for excellent discussion at the bookclub I attend. There are a lot of issues in this novel and not all of them are addressed by the end of the story, but I liked this as that is the way life works, loose ends don’t always get tied up unfortunately.

I also read the author interview at the end of the Novel and was amazed that Anna Jean Mayhew started this book 18 years ago and it took this long to finish it. She also says it was not written for the young adult market but that it would make excellent reading as it would give them a look into history through the eyes of someone their age. This is a very short read, it is a novel that will make you mad and sad.