Set in the south in the 1950’s the story is about a family of white children, their family dynamics, and the black maid who cares for them.
Author Mary Morony perfectly captures the attitude and social injustices towards blacks, and the dialects and culture as well. Sallee, the middle daughter, narrates her family’s part of the story and the remaining back story is told through the eyes of their black maid, Ethel.
I think the author intended to stir in us sympathy for the children whose lives are wedged between an alcoholic mother, who is more into tennis and social teas and inept and aloof when it comes to caring for her offspring, and a loving, entrepreneur of father who can no longer tolerate his wife’s short comings. The children end up, for the most part in the care of Ethel who is also an alcoholic.
The mother’s meanness never felt fully realized enough for me to really summon up any true feelings for Sallee or her siblings. I also felt that bouncing back and forth between Ethel’s narration and Sallee’s helped distance me from caring and that Ethel’s narrative wasn’t all that crucial to the story. I think it would have been stronger without. Of course, not everyone will agree we me. You may think it’s a 5 star book. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.