Lowry returns to the Eunola, Mississippi, trailer of Come Back, Lolly Ray (1977) for another attractively moody but uneven...

READ REVIEW

EMMA BLUE

Lowry returns to the Eunola, Mississippi, trailer of Come Back, Lolly Ray (1977) for another attractively moody but uneven evocation of constricted Southern lives. In the first book, Lolly Ray, a sequined baton twirler with glittery ambitions, arrived pregnant at Homecoming Emma Blue is her abandoned offspring, rejected as too ordinary and wordlessly deposited, at age eleven, at grandmother's too-small trailer: no please, goodbye, or backward glance. Now a diffident teenager with fragile memories, she resists school and most overtures and squints at the future. Lowry forms Emma, her grandmother, and great-grandmother into a resonant trio of squelched hopes, spitefulness, and the occasional shared encounter, usually near a TV set. Emma resembles the Peavey side of the family (""you had to sand them some to get their best qualities to show""), but neither woman reaches out to her. Like Lolly Ray, this flickers erratically, as Emma opportunely witnesses a leading citizen's death and slips into a strange liaison with the woman's great-nephew, but the individual characters and background refrains are steadier, and two scenes stand out: Lolly Ray arrives unannounced as the other three watch an emblematic football game; and the two unceremonious old ladies shelve their resentments and ride to Emma's graduation in their hated, hand-me-down car. Despite the technical snags and choppy momentum, Emma Blue is a strongly textured, engaging sequel.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 1978

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1978