Everyone is leaving and Adabel is trying to hold onto what is left. She can’t remember her mama who left when she was six and it really bothers her. Everyone remembers her mama including her siblings and the neighbor folk. Her daddy works in the mine, like many in town and is a drunk. He is a mean and ornery drunk and he is known around town for his drunkenness. Times are tough and everyone must pitch in. Adabel is trying to recover her memories of her mama, asking everyone she runs into what they remember about her mama and why they believe she ran off when she did. The rumors that Adabel hears about her mama start to have her question her family meanwhile her daddy continues to drink heavily affecting the household. A scuffle between her brother Pick and her daddy has Pick moving out of the house and tension in the house is high. There are more questions floating in the air than answers as Adabel scrambles to uncover the mystery of her mama. I really enjoyed how Adabel searched for answers to her question. It seemed like such a simple question but no one had a straightforward answer for her. She either heard rumors when she received an answer or she heard what others thought was the truth or Adabel discovered another questions that lead her on to search for more answers.
Adabel’s family is falling apart and being twelve-years old, she is the individual who is being taught to run the household. This is a big responsibility and one that Adabel feels she is not ready for. Her daddy tries to sober up, he makes serious attempts to be good father but alcoholism is a disease which can come back anytime without a warning and rear its ugly face.
I really enjoyed reading this novel with its Southern dialect. Written in the 1930’s during the Great Depression, you feel the hardships that this family is facing as they go about their day. Father’s depression, his work in the mine and his need for drink consumes his day and you see how his children fear him, this becomes their routine. Adabel is searching to find what happened to her mother and while doing so, she finds other truths within their small community. She was persistent in her search and I liked how she questioned the information that she received. She looked at everything and tried to put it all together. Looking at the cover of this novel, I don’t think it is a good reflection of what this novel entails. The story is about hardships, about family and about secrets. I really enjoyed it.