May 31, 2017
Spit of a Minute By Dixie Burns
SPIT OF A MINUTE ****
By: Dixie Burns
Great historical fiction of rural Southern life during the Depression.
What a great story! It is set in a small rural southern town in Tennessee, starting back in the 1930's Depression era. The author does well describing the landscape with both vegetable farming and the ever important Darkfire tobacco fields. This gives the reader even better insight, background and understanding of the book's many colorful characters. Being a Southerner myself, I absolutely loved that the book was narrated in a fabulous southern dialect. The only problem I had with the author's dialect is that it is a southern BLACK dialect and the characters were (I think) white. Being a Southerner born and bred, I recognize the very subtle differences in the two. Use of the word “is” instead of “are” being a big difference. (I was born, raised and remain in North West AL just 200 miles from the author's native Nashville, TN. The AL and TN vernacular are pretty much identical, even for the Depression era setting when the dialect was even MORE Southern. ( < Lawdt tha yankees are laughin' at that. Bless they hearts.)
I was confused and kept looking back for racial identity of the characters. Although rare, I do think the author gave descriptive details of caucasian characters. I gave up and just let the characters be black in my mind. It simply fit the vernacular for me. The lives, circumstances and choices could easily be either black or white.
15 year old Elizabeth Abigail Lane, Queenie to family and friends, is full of dreams of her future. She knowns she's not meant for this small town or these dirt poor farmers. She plans to live in a big city and go dancing every night! Life seems to get in the way of Queenie's dreams and she finds herself decades after her “shotgun wedding” saddled with 3 children and a ne'er do well drunkard of a husband. But things can change in the spit of a minute.
The book is told from the point of view of Queenie, Eli (her husband) and her 3 children, Abba Gee, Willy and Bud. All of their experiences in life add to this fascinating story. The story is full of suspense, anticipation, excitement, and you are drawn into the lives of the characters, even if you want to jump into the book and jack slap some sense into them at times. There are also heartbreaking moments where you feel so bad for the way life treated these characters. I rooted for Queenie and she did TRY to better her life circumstances, she just fell into a habit or making bad choices. I am now left rooting for Abba Gee. She is making better choices and seems destined for a brighter future, even if it's still a hard and difficult life.
When the author can make you want to jump into the characters lives and intervene, then the author has done an excellent job making the story and characters “real”.
This is an excellent book for Young Adults and up.
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