Email this review


A novel about personal strength found in the midst of terrible grief--a harrowing tale of loss and redemption. Eli, 12, loses both his mother and sister to the 1878 yellow fever epidemic in Memphis. His father can't bear the tragedy and jumps a train out of the city, abandoning his son. Eli makes his way to Elmwood Cemetery for his sister's burial. There he is drawn to Grace, the so-called Graveyard Girl, who rings the bell for the dead and writes their names in the record. Grace tries to enlist Eli's help in caring for orphaned Addie but he resists, hoping that by remaining frozen and uncaring, he will also be unfettered. The opposite is true, however; only when he begins to help others do his own wounds begin to heal. With this book, Myers returns to the taut, deeply felt prose that marked her first novel, Red-Dirt Jessie (1992). The situation provides tension as well as horrifying historical details about the epidemic itself. The book ends on a hopeful note, but its unrelenting sadness will be difficult for some readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1995
ISBN: 193464529X
Page count: 125pp
Publisher: Walker