LEAVING GEE’S BEND by Irene Latham

LEAVING GEE’S BEND

Age Range: 9 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1932 Gee’s Bend, ten-year-old Ludelphia thinks clearest while stitching, so when her mother becomes deathly ill, Ludelphia takes along a quilt top as she crosses the river to get help. She is oddly fixated on her stitching and delays her life-saving journey repeatedly to work the quilt, even to the point of incorporating her pocket in it, which requires her to carry it in her hand for the rest of the trip. Though it seems Latham is trying to develop an engagingly absentminded or single-minded character, Ludelphia comes off instead as dense, and the constant returning to the quilt is an authorial artifice. The story depends on Ludelphia’s development and voice to carry it, other characters and the setting remaining one-dimensional. The author describes being inspired to tell this story after seeing the exhibit “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend” and notes sources for her research. She’s taken liberties in depicting real people and events, which is permissible in fiction, but still regrettable when done poorly. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-399-25179-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2009




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