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Whistling Past the Graveyard    by Susan Crandall order for
Whistling Past the Graveyard
by Susan Crandall
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Meet Starla Claudelle, a nine-year-old red-haired bundle of independence. Starla's Mamie, with whom she has been living, is just plain too strict so Starla decides to go find her Mommy, who's a famous singer in Nashville. Being that this is 1963 and Starla starts out from Mississippi, even Starla knows pretty soon that this isn't going to be an easy adventure. Things get really interesting when Starla meets Eula, a black woman traveling alone with a white baby.

Susan Crandall manages to sustain the voice of Starla and hold our interest in it throughout the whole story - quite an accomplishment. Along the way we get lots of information about the era's civil rights struggle. Starla has a way of thinking about people and questioning their motives that makes us all stop and think. And at the same time her reactions to the events she has to face are endearing, plus the characters she meets along the way are as varied as they are realistic.

Whistling Past the Graveyard eloquently portrays how important family is and what courage and strength of character allow us to do when we must act. Even though Starla finds out her family is never going to be what she thought it should be, she is lucky enough to find people who will help her make a new, different and maybe even better one.

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