Saturday, June 30, 2012

286 (2012 #31). The Dry Grass of August

by Anna Jean Mayhew

This debut novel is a coming-of-age story set in August 1954.  June "Jubie" Watts, her mother, Paula, two sisters, baby brother, and their black maid, Mary Luther, drive from Charlotte, North Carolina to Florida for a vacation visiting Jubie's maternal uncle.

Jubie's father Bill stays home, and it soon becomes clear that life with him is not idyllic for Jubie (or Paula).  Jubie is close to Mary, though.

Eventually, racial tension in the area leads to tragedy, and 13-year-old Jubie must grow up quickly, challenging her parents and herself.

If you liked Kathryn Stockett's The Help or Sue Monk Kidds's The Secret Life of Bees, you will probably like this book.  Part of it is somewhat predictable; I found the dynamics of Jubie's family to be more interesting.

I'm also amazed at author Anna Jean Mayhew's tenacity - it took 18 years for her to write it, and it was published when she was 71.  I guess there is still hope for my childhood dreams of being an author!

© Amanda Pape - 2012

 [This book was borrowed and returned through interlibrary loan.]


  1. Amanda, thanks so much for the thorough review of my novel. I'm impressed with your tenacity, too, given the number and variety of books you've read since 2008. Thanks again for featuring The Dry Grass of August.

    A. J. Mayhew, Author

    1. You are welcome, A.J.! Thank you for reading and commenting! I am looking forward to your next novel, Tomorrow’s Bread.