Imagine this is you: Eleven years old. Alone. In charge of two younger sisters. A girl. African American. 1968. Flying for the first time on an airplane. Meeting your mother years after she’s abandoned you – who still ignores you while you stay in her house.
This is Delphine’s life. Her father is crazy for shipping her and her sisters across the country to spend their summer in Oakland with her crazy mother. Delphine and her sisters attend a summer school run by the Blank Panthers. Things get crazy as Delphine finds herself drawn into a world she fears could lead to trouble.
Delphine narrates One Crazy Summer in an immensely introspective voice. It surprised me. I loved her, and I loved her sisters Vonetta and Fern. I loved how they stuck together and how Delphine looked out for them. I even loved their fights (that poor doll). But so much introspection makes me suggest this book is for advanced young readers or tweens. One Crazy Summer reminds me of a book adults want kids to read but kids find difficult to get through. There are a lot of historical figures and the writing utilizes dialect which slows the pace for me as a reader. I imagine some kids may have a similar experience. I think it will take the right kid to appreciate the narrative since there isn’t a whole lot of action. The action did pick up a bit in the last third and I felt rewarded for having made it through the slower parts. I enjoyed the conclusion and am glad I read the book.
Publisher: Amistad, 2010 Pages: 218
Rating: 3.5 stars Source: IC Public Library