Two “Speddies”—special ed students—graduate high school and move in with a kind but sometimes misguided older woman.
At first, prickly Quincy, who is mixed-race, and fearful but kind Biddy, who is white, seem to have little in common besides their special ed designation. After they finish high school, the two girls are placed in a living situation together. Biddy has a job cooking and cleaning for the elderly woman in whose home they are staying, and Quincy will work at a grocery store. The girls narrate alternate chapters, a page or two long each and related in readable but distinct dialect. The story is told with both gentleness and a humor that laughs with, not at, the two girls. (Quincy’s recurring joke about Biddy catching “the duck rabies” from a family of ducks she’s started feeding is particularly charming.) Sexual, institutional and family violence against both Quincy and Biddy are treated frankly, with realistic but not sensational detail. One plot point involving the daughter who was taken from Biddy years earlier feels contrived, but otherwise, the warmth, conflict and mutual caring that develop among Quincy, Biddy and elderly Miss Lizzy are authentic and genuinely moving.
A respectful and winningly told story about people too often relegated to the role of plot device—bravo. (Fiction. 12-18)