Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes

This book was recommended to me by my thirteen year old daughter, possibly because she wanted help with the paper she had to write about it. It's a very charming story that touches on some difficult topics. It's girl power at its finest, which I always like.

Lanesha is an orphan being raised by the elderly midwife who birthed her moments before her teen aged mother died. Mama Yaya is a seer, and an equally feared and revered caretaker of the entire neighborhood. Lanesha is an outsider, an odd, brainy, watchful girl who has never had a friend. As Hurricane Katrina threatens the Gulf Coast, her life becomes as tumultuous as the approaching storm. This is a story about overcoming your ideas about your place in the world, as well as celebrating your own untapped strength.

My daughter didn't like the ending, which does rather leave you guessing about the ultimate fate of both Lanesha and her new friends. I kind of liked it, because the aftermath of heroics, like storms, seems a lot less interesting than the acts of bravery themselves. I finished the book with the feeling that Lanesha will manage pretty much anything that comes her way.

Chilling satellite images of Hurricane Katrina.

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