Hurt by her overworked mother’s insistence that she’s a bad girl, 10-year-old Weezie tries her best to prove her wrong.
Fixing meals and babysitting her half siblings isn’t enough to make up for breaking Gramma Emmeline’s teapot. Weezie misses her deceased grandmother’s love and the way she called her by her full name, Grace Louise. Now she constantly gets in trouble and has to spend weekends at home alone in the trailer park while whiny Ruth Ann and Jackson get Momma’s attention. The only bright light in her life is the recognition her teacher gives her for her artistic talent, which goes unnoticed by Momma. Weezie knows who Ruth Ann’s father was, and Jackson’s daddy comes around often, but she doesn’t even know her own father’s name. She starts lying about him at school, making herself even more miserable. In desperation, she sets out on a search of her own, with surprising results. Weezie’s earnest attempts to find her father without her mother’s cooperation and her persistent efforts to be a better person are touchingly revealed through her candid narration. Strong secondary characters round out the portrayal of small-town life in Oklahoma, including Weezie’s investigative partner, her friend Calvin, who is “a little slow in his thinking” but never judges Weezie for what she does.
This tightly written chapter book has just the right amount of pathos for middle-grade readers. (Fiction. 8-12)