Wednesday, August 2, 2017

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia

This story features three black girls who live in New York with their father and his mother. Their own mother abandoned them when the youngest was a few months old. When the oldest, Delphine, is 11, her father decides to send all three girls to Oakland, California to visit their mother. Delphine has always taken care of her sisters and continues to do so when they visit their mother who is, quite honestly, an awful mother. She simply isn't interested in taking care of the three or showing any affection or connection and she is consumed by her poetry and activism. The mother sends them to a day camp put on by the Black Panthers where they make some connections and learn more about the struggles of their people and try to find an authentic voice. Throughout these 30 days, Delphine learns about her self and her mother. Although this is an interesting book, I couldn’t connect to the characters. Delphine, because she was too accepting of bad things and practical for an 11 year old, was hard to love. I wanted her to fight or to break free or at least feel the damage her mother bestowed.  The mother was so far on the spectrum of a crazy and completely uncaring mother, it felt forced. There are plenty of mothers who have abandoned their children but that doesn’t mean they don’t care at all. The story and characters, to me, didn’t ring true, except when dealing with the struggles of being black and finding the right voice (but what do I really know about that?). Grades 4-7