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Book cover of $66 Summer: A Novel of the Segregated South

$66 Summer: A Novel of the Segregated South

by John Armistead, Fran Gregory

Publisher: Milkweed Editions
ISBN: 9781571316639

Available to Buy

Synopsis of $66 Summer: A Novel of the Segregated South

More than anything else, George Harrington wants a motorcycle. He works in his grandmother's store in Obadiah, Alabama, trying to save enough money for the precious bike. Esther Garrison works at the store, too, trying to earn money for a dream of her own — to continue her education. George, Esther, and Esther’s brother Bennett quickly become friends, even though George is white and the Garrisons are black. The three spend their time together sneaking onto Mr. Vorhise’s property to fish and search for outlaw treasure, avoiding his vicious dogs and the strange old woman who seems to stalk them. George, Esther, and Bennett find more than fish on Mr. Vorhise's land — they stumble onto chilling evidence that shatters their idyllic summer and the town’s peaceful surface. As the tragic events unfold, George must confront the ugly realities of racism, realities that force him to rethink his priorities. John Armistead’s memorable, carefully drawn characters capture the hope and heartbreak of a turbulent era.

Publishers Weekly

Set in 1955 Alabama, this carefully developed first novel explores a white boy's introduction to the devastating effects of racism. The summer he turns 13, George yearns to earn enough money to buy a motorcycle and ends up staying in Obadiah with his grandmother, earning a dollar a day at her store. There he becomes reacquainted with some of the folks who live near or on his grandmother's land: two "colored" children, Esther and Bennett, whose father, Staple, ran off unexpectedly a few years ago; George's alcoholic, bigoted father's old friend, scary Mr. Vorhise, who raises fighting dogs; and Auntie Hoosilla, a disfigured old woman reputed to be a witch. Although the book is somewhat slow-going at first, introducing the players and establishing their views on race, none of it is superfluous. Stories told to George by friends and relatives provide clues about Staple's unexplained departure, a mystery that gradually becomes the central focus. Armistead's honest dialogue and believable characterizations add resonance to the timeless theme of injustice. The climax, conveying the tragic fate of Esther's and Bennett's father, will leave a searing impression. Ages 8-13. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

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