The Remember Box (Job's Corner Series #1)

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Summer in Job's Corner meant big trees, cool grass, and sweltering afternoons stretching endlessly under the Southern sun. Those were the days without plastic,
microwaves, television, or air conditioning, a time when clocks ticked comfortingly in the night and a cool breeze was a gift. But as the long sultry summer of
1949 comes to an end, ...

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The Remember Box

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Summer in Job's Corner meant big trees, cool grass, and sweltering afternoons stretching endlessly under the Southern sun. Those were the days without plastic,
microwaves, television, or air conditioning, a time when clocks ticked comfortingly in the night and a cool breeze was a gift. But as the long sultry summer of
1949 comes to an end, events will transform this sleepy Southern crossroads.

After losing her mother to polio, eleven-year-old Carley Marshall comes to
Job's Corner to make a new start, along with her Aunt Kate and Uncle Stephen
Whitfield and her cousins Abby and John. The family is welcomed warmly by this small North Carolina community as Stephen takes up the post of pastor to Bethel
Church, a Presbyterian congregation. But their welcome begins to wear thin and covert criticism runs rampant as Stephen challenges age-old beliefs and traditions.

As Job's Corner confronts national struggles for civil rights, coal strikes,
and hysteria over Communism, Stephen's voice of reason gets lost in the growing hostility of a vocal minority. Though this quintessential Southern community seems to be filled with people who are the salt of the earth, secrets and lies are hidden beneath the easy-going surface-and the truth must be revealed before an innocent man is convicted of murder.

With the dawning of a new decade, Carley learns to face her own family secrets.
And discovers that we all must make the journey to truth alone.

"The story lures readers along as the pieces fall into place. The characters are steeped in reality, drawn convincingly and full of the surprises inherent in ordinary people. The story should provoke some interesting discussion about situations that are as real today as they were then."

School Library Journal

"Readers will enjoy Sprinkle's memorable cast of characters and unexpected plot twists, and be challenged by her message of racial equality."

Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this Christian novel, Sprinkle (author of the Sheila Travis mysteries and When Did We Lose Harriet?) deftly addresses racial tensions in the segregated South in 1949. Carley Marshall, an 11-year-old white girl, is forced to move in with her aunt and uncle in their sleepy village of Job's Corner, N.C., after her mother dies. Having been raised under the influence of her racially conservative grandmother, Carley is startled by the attitude of her preacher-uncle, a firm advocate of biblical equality. The town has similar concerns about him. For the people of Job's Corner, eating meals prepared by blacks is de rigueur, while sitting down to table with them is another matter entirely. In Uncle Steven, Sprinkle has crafted a strong yet sympathetic character whose ideas on race and social justice are ahead of their time. In his wife, Kate, torn between her love for her husband and her fear of what people will think of them, Sprinkle allows readers to see the toll such visionary leadership can have on a family. Written as a flashback, the novel is aptly named as the grown-up Carley struggles to write the true story of what happened in Job's Corner in 1949 from a box of tangible memories. Readers will enjoy Sprinkle's memorable cast of characters and unexpected plot twists, and be challenged by her message of racial equality. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
After her Aunt Kate dies, Carley Marshall's uncle, Stephen Whitfield, gives her Kate's "remember box" and asks her to write its story, the story of the year the family lived in the segregated Job's Corner, NC. Before the Civil Rights movement became a national concern, Stephen, the pastor of Bethel Church, lived by his beliefs that all men are loved equally by God regardless of color. This unpopular opinion and his outspoken criticism of anti-Communist rhetoric split his congregation further. As 11-year-old Carley, a ward in her uncle's household, learned to think for herself, a violent murder and the sexual assault of a retarded girl tore the community apart and threatened the strength, solidity, and beliefs of the Whitfield family. Acclaimed mystery maven Sprinkle (When did we lose Harriet?) lends her unique voice to the Christian market with this part whodunit, part black comedy, and part coming of age novel. For all collections.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A novel that captures readers in short order. Now adults, Abby gives her cousin Carley a "remember box" that had belonged to Abby's mother. As Carley lifts the objects from the box, readers are given hints as to the importance of each piece but must read on to learn the whole story that unfolded so many years before as recorded by Carley. In 1949, when her mother died, 11-year-old Carley was sent to live with her Aunt Kate, Uncle Steven, four-year-old Abby, and infant John in Job's Corner, NC, where Steven was the new Presbyterian minister. Feisty, brave, and aware, young Carley faces the racial bigotry in herself and others that is the social norm of the time, bred into children by blacks and whites alike. The treachery of some adults is brought home when her uncle stands trial after being falsely accused of molestation, again when a black family friend is nearly convicted of murder, and in the dangerous encounter she has with the father she had thought was dead. She also witnesses the uncommon heroics and self-sacrifice that can be found in the most unexpected places. The story lures readers along as the pieces fall into place. The characters are steeped in reality, drawn convincingly and full of the surprises inherent in ordinary people. The story should provoke some interesting discussion about situations that are as real today as they were then.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933523095
  • Publisher: Bella Rosa Books
  • Publication date: 6/9/2008
  • Series: Job's Corner Series, #1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 663,950
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I clearly remember the hot summer minute when I decided if the alternative was to forgive Preston Scott Anderson, I'd rather go to hell.

Still, I followed that thought with an anxious glance toward Uncle Stephen's open upstairs window. Was he still typing? He'd been too engrossed in the next day's sermon to stop Preston and me from fighting, but sometimes he seemed to know my very thoughts.

It was a beautiful afternoon, the kind with puffy white clouds, dark blue sky, robins chirping in a tree, and Abby clearly audible through the open bathroom window, telling a story to her rubber turtle in an after-nap bath. Much too lovely a day for the feelings roiling inside me. My stomach ached so bad, I was afraid I'd give Preston the pleasure of watching me throw up all over the soft cool grass.

"Go home!" I commanded, feet apart and a fist on each hip.

Preston still hadn't had that growth spurt he'd been promising all year, so at almost eleven he was still shorter than I at almost twelve. Under the blooming pear tree he was pale and sweating, rusty freckles standing out on his face like dried hen dookey on a very white egg.

Dookey was a new word I'd picked up from Ruth Lamont, and it seemed exactly right for Preston. I could imagine him standing under his Uncle Davy's hen roost while Biddy, the meanest of Miss Hannah's hens, dripped on his face.

Nothing a hen could drip, though, was as nasty as what was coming out of Preston's wet pink mouth. "Just you wait, Carley Marshall! Your Uncle Stephen's a Commie and a nigger lover. He'd have lied like a rug to get Jay off"

Hot blood rushed to my head. "Jay didn't kill anybody, and you know it. And Uncle Stephen would never have lied. But he'll whip you good if he hears you calling Jay that. Now get off our property!"

"Ain't your propity, it's church propity," Preston reminded me with odious superiority, "and you don't know anything, smarty pants. If you knew everything there is to know--what old Stevie boy's really been doin'?--well, all I gotta say is, when we get through with him, he'll be lucky if he don't get tarred, feathered, and run out of town. Just you wait!"

I wasn't smart enough to know he was just quoting his elders.

I rushed him, fists flailing the air. "Don't you call him Stevie!" One punch grazed his round soft jaw. "You call him Mister Whitfield!" A second brushed his right ear. "And if you don't get out of this yard this minute, I'll kill you!" My third punch hit solid, burying my arm almost to the elbow in Preston's pillowy midriff. He reeled and fell with a satisfactory "Oof!"

I straddled him, still punching. Nothing had felt so good in a long time.


I jerked my head upward. Uncle Stephen stood framed at the screen, cradling his pipe in one hand and shoving back his hair with the other. "Time for your piano practice," he said mildly. "Go on home, Preston, and do your arithmetic exercises. If you need help, come over later. Okay?" He turned and disappeared into the darkness beyond the screen.

I glared at Preston. He glared back, his blue eyes like hard little marbles. "You don't know what I know, Carley," he rasped. "It's big as God! And people're gonna do everything they can to make sure your precious Uncle Stephen gets 'zactly what he deserves." He limped toward the road and his own house next door. His limp was always worse when he knew somebody was watching.

"You're fat and ugly and your mama dresses you funny!" I yelled after him. But I yelled softly. I didn't want Uncle Stephen wasting a perfectly good suppertime talking about turning the other cheek.

That afternoon I abandoned my new sonata, dug out an old book I'd finished years before, and found "The Happy Farmer," which I could bang out fast without thinking. "I'll never forgive him," I vowed again, pounding away at the chords. "Never! If I have to go to hell--okay, I will."

Determination must have poured through my fingertips, for Uncle Stephen called down the stairs, "Sounds like the happy farmer's taking a beating from his angry wife."

How could I know, that hot, still afternoon, that of all the people in Job's Corner, only Preston Anderson--with a face full of freckles and hair like a rusty toilet brush, with eyes so weak he had to hold a paper almost to his nose to read it--only Preston saw clearly what was going on?

That happened in June 1950, but if I'm to tell this story correctly I must begin in July 1949, when I turned eleven. I wanted a weenie roast. Mama gave me a pink party--pink cake, pink ice cream, and eleven little girls in pink dresses bringing presents wrapped in pink. Not by a single flicker did the eleven pink candles on my cake warn me what was coming my way in the next twelve months. If they had, I'd have gone to bed and pulled Big Mama's quilt over my head.

In those days I lived with Mama and her mother, Big Mama, in a little town perched on the North/South Carolina border just under the Blue Ridge mountains. We lived in a big white house with a wide front porch, where I loved to sprawl on the cool gray floorboards to read. Aunt Sukie--brown, gnarled, and so bent with arthritis she wasn't taller than me--came in every day to cook and clean. Even though Pop, Mama's daddy, had been dead two years, his name--Henry Marshall's--in big white letters on a red brick store in Shelby still insured that everybody in our little town knew who we were.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 30, 2008

    The Remember Box

    I liked this book because it portrays how racism was back in the day. You can really see how the 20th century has changed and given everyone their civil rights. I'm ready to get the second book and zoom through it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2003

    A Must-Read

    I have often lamented about the so-called Christian novels to be found in our bookstores today - the story lines are too predictable, the characters unrealistic and most are written at what seems to be a first-grade reading level. Not so with "The Remember Box." I absolutely loved it! (As well as the author's sequel - Carley's Song) - she breathes life into the characters, and though it's not (necessarily) an "I-can't-put-it-down" book, it keeps you coming back for more morsels - it's the kind of book you read on your deck on a sunny afternoon, sipping a cup of tea. I highly recommend it - Sprinkle seems to me to be a "Jan Karon turned suspense-writer!"

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