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FLYING SOUTH by Laura Malone Elliott


by Laura Malone Elliott

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-001214-5
Publisher: HarperCollins

It’s the sultry summer of ’68 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Eleven-year-old April has moved back to the family homestead where she lives with her mother and the white gardener and black cook, Doc and Edna. Doc raises roses and also raises Alice and her mother, Grace. It’s hard to say what’s stronger at the beginning of the story, the smell of Doc’s roses or the heaviness of his impending death. Alice wonders about everything and works through her many questions with the thoughtful guidance of Doc and Edna and the just-in-time, tidy awakening of her mother. Elliott’s dialogue is right on target with the soft accent of the old Southern aristocracy but misses the mark when she tries to incorporate phrases like “groovy” and “can you dig it?” into the teenagers’ voices. Elliott’s sure hand explores a complicated chapter in America’s ambivalence toward race, including the attitude many white people held regarding the social changes all around them. (Fiction. 9-14)