Solemn Redvine is a precocious Mississippi girl who senses a nearby baby may be her half-sibling: the outcome of her father's mistakes with a married woman who lives in their trailer park. After Solemn witnesses a man throw the baby down a community well, she struggles to understand the event, leaving her forever changed.Read more...
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Solemn Redvine is a precocious Mississippi girl who senses a nearby baby may be her half-sibling: the outcome of her father's mistakes with a married woman who lives in their trailer park. After Solemn witnesses a man throw the baby down a community well, she struggles to understand the event, leaving her forever changed.
As Solemn finds refuge in fantasies of stardom as well as friendships with her brother's wife and a nearby girl, the ill-fated baby's doomed mother disappears without a trace. Solemn remains trapped by connections to the missing other woman and an honest cop who suspects more to the story than others on the small local police force want to see. When her father's next mistake - a robbery - lands Solemn in a group home for troubled girls, she meets a Chicago delinquent who wants to escape. There, Solemn must face the truth of who she really is and what she is really made of.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Buckhanon's (Conception) third novel focuses on the coming of age of Solemn Redvine, as well as life in the small town of Bledsoe, Miss. Solemn's life changes when a baby who could be her half-sibling is born to her neighbor Pearletta Hassle, and she sees Pearletta's husband throw the baby into a well. The plot becomes more complicated when Pearletta disappears and Earl Redvine, Solemn's father, commits a robbery, landing Solemn in a group home. Solemn's relatives, including older brother Landon and sister-in-law Akila, attempt to support her and look to the future, but her uneasy alliance with her roommate, a Chicago girl named Majority, makes the situation even more tense. Eventually, Majority and Solemn are forced to make a decision together about which directions to take in their respective lives. Buckhanon memorably depicts the difficulty of Solemn's situation, but as she attempts to move forward, Buckhanon also gives readers glimpses of hope. This standout novel is anchored by its vulnerable and brave heroine. Agent: Al Zuckerman, Writers House. (May)
Stumbling onto the scene of a crime
In the small township of Bledsoe, Mississippi, sits Singer’s Trailer Park, a collection of trailers, campers and sometimes tents. Inside Singer’s lives a clever young girl named Solemn Redvine, whose family prefers to keep their distance from their neighbors—with the exception of Solemn’s father, whose occasional wanderings lead Solemn to believe the infant child of a couple down the way may be her half-sibling.
When Solemn witnesses a shocking event late one night in Singer’s, she struggles to reclaim the sense of innocence she felt before and find her balance. As more changes happen to Solemn’s family dynamic and within the community, she wonders who she will become as her life develops among such turmoil. She longs to leave Singer’s, where she feels trapped by her connection to a crime she saw and can’t forget. When Solemn’s father’s latest mistake leads to her removal from her parents’ custody, Solemn gets the escape she has been looking for, albeit under less-than-perfect circumstances. But she finds herself facing the same questions about her identity. There might not be an easy way to grow up.
Kalisha Buckhanon has presented realistic portraits of modern African-American life in her previous novels, Upstate and Conception. With Solemn, she has created an emotional and expressive novel about family, obligation and community. This twisting, expressive coming-of-age story not only offers readers a young girl’s experience of seeking her place in the world, but also illustrates the struggle of life in the rural South.