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The summer of 1950 has arrived, and Sadie's parents are in need of a babysitter for her and younger brother Joe for the summer while they work. Sadie's parents work the second shift at a mill. Sadie and her brother are sent to stay for the summer at their paternal grandparents farm in South Carolina. On weekends their parents would visit the farm, often picking up the kids and taking them to the drive-in movie theater. They were a close family, laughter and affection was prominent. On the other hand Sadie's grandmother was a stern stoic no-nonsense person.
"She was not into sweet-talk. Her dialogue was as plain and unadorned as her battered washboard. Her vocabulary was the same, plain enough for a moron to understand. When she meant 'flighty,' she said 'flighty.' The upside was you never misunderstood her."
Sadie's father was the 5th of 12 children, grandma was having children while her children were having children. Sadie had an aunt only 1 year older. Aunt Nellie Jane did not have time to squander. Her duties were as full as any adult. Cooking and cleaning and laundry and caring for the farm animals took up most of her day. Although Sadie was given chores as well, she was not an expert as dear Nellie Jane. There were moments that the 2 girls were able to take a break from chores and just be the young adolescent girls they were. Sadie's teenage uncles were usually busy with their father working in the fields.
Flavors is a coming of age story nestled deep in southern wording and southern culture. The year being 1950, was before technology took away from a child's imagination and outside creativity and pleasures.
Sadie is a sensitive, articulate, observant, perceptive girl. Her observations are of her grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and their behavior and choices. She ponders them, and then makes decisions about her own life. The title flavors is alluded to often in the book----as she analyzes her surroundings and feelings and compares them to flavors.
This is a transparent and honest look at other humans. At what mistakes were made, and what can and should be the observer's response----an education in life. During this process of an education in life, a child grows-up.
Flavors is more than well-written, it is magical. Sadie's story swept me away and I was there, in the stifling humid heat, of 1950 South Carolina. When Sadie felt something, I could as well.
Emphatically, this is in my top 5 of BEST stories I've read. I loved it that much!
I recommend this book for any adult, but also feel it is adequate for age 13 and up.
Yes, it would be a good story for a book club, would give the members ability to discuss their own similar youth.
Thank you to Emily Sue Harvey and The Story Plant for my free review copy in exchange for an honest review!
Posted May 13, 2011
This short book highlights the summer of Sadie's life that she turns the corner into adulthood. It is a quick enjoyable read and brought back memories of my own teenage years in which I spent a lot of time at my best friend's farm. She highlights the title, Flavors, by associating flavors with different seasons of life. Such as: "To me, life is a huge pie, each slice a different flavor. Childhood is definitely lemon. Yet youth cannot completely contain it because a bit of its tanginess pops up still, a half century later." (p19) And when talking about her cousin Conrad: "How quickly my period of grace had expired. But with Conrad, I was totally okay. That was my first whiff of strawberry-flavored pleasure, a prelude to the age of teens." (p33) This book has the capability of bringing nostalgic memories back to mind. Do you associate flavors with different memories?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.