Or, rather, what I just finished reading.
‘cause it was so good I couldn’t stop.
by Susan Gregg Gilmore
The story reminded me of growing up in the South and of living in a small town (which isn’t so small anymore) like we have for the last 20+ years. Living in communities where everyone knows everyone, everyone has an opinion about what you do and what you don’t do – and they usually share whether you ask or not.
It’s the story of a young girl, the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher who was the son of a preacher and the grandson of a preacher… all having tended to the same flock in the same small town of Ringgold, Georgia. Catherine Grace Cliine’s mother drowned when she was just a little girl. She and her sister grew up in the shadow of her daddy’s preaching and constantly missing their momma and wishing things were different than they were.
The girls are loved and cared for, both by their daddy (who is doing the best he can) and by their neighbor, Gloria Jean Graves, a divorcee whom her father doesn’t exactly approve of, but he allows her to fill the gap left by their mama’s death.
Catherine Grace decides that she is leaving Ringgold as soon as she is 18 – the story follows her as she grows up, anticipating and planning for that great Exodus. The storytelling is poignant and beautiful, the language true to a Southern girl – especially one from this neck of the woods. It felt genuine and real. I could imagine this was Catherine Grace telling me the story in real life, not a fictional story.
She finally makes her escape and heads to the big city of Atlanta only to be forced to return home because of a tragedy which changes her life forever.
It’s the story of finding happiness where you are, of how everything we do affects others (whether we intend for it to or not) and of the power of community.
I would highly recommend it – I thoroughly enjoyed it.