Sunday, September 06, 2009
A Certain Strain of Peculiar, by Gigi Amateau
After several years of abuse from her peers, Mary becomes convinced that the only way she is ever going to cope is to be allowed to move back to her Mom's hometown in Wren AL to live with her grandmother. Her Mom isn't too keen on the idea, so 13 year-old Mary steals her Mom's car and drives there herself (from Virginia!). Once in Wren, though, Mary discovers that her troubles have a tendency to follow her as she struggles with bullying and her inability to fit in. She is drawn to the two children of her Mom's old flame - Dixie and Delta - both of whom have what grandma calls their "certain strain of peculiar."
Complex and fulfilling story that pulls off some of the nice atmospheric magic that Amateau created in Claiming Georgia Tate. This book has a wide variety of amusing subplots that create that colorful cultural homage to the Deep South that is almost a requirement in literature (wise old women, respectful gentlemen, mischievous kids) since Mark Twain. Thankfully, we avoid the more obvious stereotypes in this case. I personally didn't find this particular effort all that exciting, but there is a chance that it may speak to you more than it did to me.