Zora and Me Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon
Carrie's best friend Zora has a way with words and stories. Everyone knows that people are people and gators are gators, but when Zora tells of seeing old Mr. Pendir with a gator snout well... there are a few kids in town who will never look at him the same way again.
Zora also has a way of meeting people and befriending them. And, of course, of over-hearing things that adults are talking about.
Things are happening in Eatonville and Zora thinks it's because of the gator-man Mr. Pendir, but the truth is starker and harsher, changing the way the girls view the world forever.
I didn't think I'd like this one-- a novel based on the childhood of Zora Neale Hurston? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I loves me some Zora Neale Hurston and was very, very wary of this, but I had to read it for work.
I love the focus on the friendship between Carrie and Zora and how it portrays life in Eatonville. You really get a sense of place and community. I wanted to hang out with them and run to Blue Sink and go swimming and to sit underneath Loving Pine and tell stories and to hide to overhear what the adults talk about in stores...
For most of the book, my biggest complaint was, why does this HAVE to be about Hurston? What about this book makes it about her? It was a such a great story and didn't have to be about her, so it came across as a bit... gimmicky. BUT! Reading the flap copy and backmatter, I see that the story is based on her stories of childhood and that they really mined Hurston's catalog for content, so it did HAVE to be about her.
But, for the sake the story itself, it doesn't. And, in my mind, that's what makes the story so strong.
This is the second book I've read recently that fictionalizes the childhood of an adult author. Unlike The Dreamer,this one really spoke to me. I also think it has wide kid appeal. Readers will love hearing about the gators and the mystery and figuring out what's going on.
I mean, I had no idea how the mystery was going to turn out until it was revealed. NONE AT ALL.
Very well done.
Book Provided by... my local library
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