September 2, 2014
Told from an older, wiser voice, the narrator steps back to tell how growing up in the American South can tear at the moral consciousness of a white child. This child, who as a teenager, turned her back on her first, most dearly beloved childhood friend, a black girl named Delia. Rodgers’ splendid tale is a well-written, creatively detailed fictional account that emerges out of her own real Southern past.
Rodgers is able to bring the small farm setting of the 1960s to vivid life, as she also chronicles the lifelong guilt she must endure for not standing up against the law and white culture of the times. In this little segregated place, Rodgers lets the reader hear colloquial language, a remnant of Celtic and African oral traditions. Her narrative speaks “loud and clear” and it is Rodgers’ authentic voice and her storytelling voice that brings the sense of place to her characterizations, settings, and conflicts.
Only by looking back through the lens of the past can the narrator begin to understand the nature of humanity and of inhumanity. Rodgers makes Southerners (and all of us, really) peek back to an unsavory segregated period. If you grew up in north Florida like I did you will recognize the moral message that screams about guilt, forgiveness, and justice. Hip, Hip, Hooray for Rodgers! She will allow you to step back to comprehend not only the topographical areas of farm life and small town living, but she will lead you to understand the societal landscape and moral conflicts of race that were felt in the 1960’s in rural Florida, by both blacks and whites.
Rose Knox, writer and teacher, author of Canoeing and Camping on the Historic Suwannee River.