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Sweetly Sings the Donkey based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
I found this author listed in the book 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. This is the third book of Cleaver's that I've read and while Where the Lillies Bloom and Trial Valley portray very strong female characters, Sweetly Sings the Donkey takes independent strong will and ratchets the intensity a few more notches.Lily Snow is fourteen and angry. Weary of living with a father whose unrealistic dreams never come to fruition and a mother who is manipulatively passive and needy, Lily is sick and tired of being the adult.Living in ramble shack houses until they are evicted, her father collects junk while her spineless mother complains, needles and whines.Responsibility for two siblings falls on the shoulder of Lily.Deft at flirting and using men, Lily plays with feelings.When her father learns that he inherited property in Florida, he packs the family in a broken down car and heads south. Sleeping in the car and a tent, drinking water and bathing from a stream while scavenging for food, the trek is exceedingly long and frustrating.When they arrive in Florida, the family learns there is no house, and the property is located in the outback, secluded woods.As her mother becomes more disengaged and her siblings argue, while her father's health is compromised, Lily takes charge.Finding men to help her, she builds a better life. As Lily's independence takes root in literally building a house with her bare hands, her mother abandons the family and runs away with another man.While Lily is a character to be admired for her fortitude, I was bothered by the author's depiction of a heroine who, like her mother manipulated men to fulfill their dreams.Recommended because Vera Cleaver's writing is filled with strong images of the reality of a hard life wherein junk can turn to jewels, albeit gems that are cut glass and not shining diamonds.